American country singer and The Voice judge Blake Shelton has denied dissing Lil Nas X after releasing a new song, ‘Hell Right’, which seemingly references Nas X’s country trap hit ‘Old Town Road’.
Shelton’s freshly released track, which features Trace Adkins, was released last Friday (August 16). It was written by Brett Tyler, David Garcia and Michael Hardy, and appears to take a dig at Nas X’s chart-smashing single on the second verse. “Then the girl from the small town took off the ‘Old Town’, put on a little Hank Jr.,” Shelton sings. Adkins follows in agreement, adding, “Thank God”. Hear the song below:
Now, Nas X fans claim that the lyric constitutes a diss of the rising star. “Blake Shelton and Trace Adkins’s slam of ‘Old Town Road’ is further proof that attempts to protect or save country music are usually attempts to police the borders of who gets to be considered country. And those attempts are too often racist, misogynist and/or anti-queer. Stop it,” wrote Twitter user CharlesLHughes2.
“Reminds me of when Taylor Swift came onto the music scene with pop-infused country and lyrics explicitly from a young woman’s experience,” wrote Twitter user hopeisunseen in the same Twitter thread. “That came with backlash from purists and then even more bro-country.”
- READ MORE: ‘Old Town Road’ – how the TikTok-propelled country-trap banger sparked debate about genre, race and exclusion
Responding to the criticisms, a rep for Shelton told Variety last week that the song is “absolutely not throwing any kind of shade at Lil Nas X at all.” His spokesperson added, “Blake says this literally has nothing to do with anything at all except how much the song is played. It could have been ‘Achy Breaky Heart’ or any other (overplayed) song.” His rep later added that Shelton had reached out to Billy Ray Cyrus, who “thought [the song] was funny”.
Meanwhile, Nas X didn’t seem to take Shelton’s lyric to heart. In a now-deleted tweet, the viral star joked that the country singer’s new song ‘don’t slap like ‘Old Town Road’’’, according to ET Online.
Last month, Nas X made history after ‘Old Town Road’ became the longest-running US Number One single of all time. The country trap anthem has now spent almost 20 weeks at the top of the Billboard Hot 100 chart.