According to Billy Ray Cyrus, record executives forced him to remove the word “marijuana” from his number one single “Old Town Road” remix with Lil Nas X. It’s the latest incident of the censorship of cannabis-related words from mainstream hit singles.
The current number one song in the nation, “Old Town Road,” is the longest-running number one single in U.S. chart history, dethroning Mariah Carey’s “One Sweet Day” and Luis Fonsi’s “Despacito” for eighteen weeks in the Hot 100’s top spot. But the single’s original lyrics were changed to make it more family-friendly and radio-friendly.
“For some reason, I immediately thought it was funny to say, ‘Baby’s got a habit: diamond rings and marijuana’,” Cyrus told Taste of Country. “See it is funny. They said, ‘Everything but the marijuana.’ [Lil Nas X] said, ‘How about Fendi sports bra?’ I thought, ‘It’s probably good because I don’t know what that is.’ Boom, that kinda happened, we rolled with it in minutes.” Cyrus explained that it took him about 10 minutes to finish writing his verse for the song.
The unapproved versed was replaced with “Hat down, cross town, livin’ like a rockstar/ Spent a lot of money on my brand new guitar,” which is not what Cyrus originally intended to sing.
Cyrus also explained that he knew the song was going to be a major hit before it was released. At only 20 years old, Lil Nas X has already been thrust into the spotlight of A-list musical artists. On June 30, Lil Nas X also came out as openly gay.
Billy Ray Cyrus ran into problems last February, after he posted a photo of his wife in front of a large stash of cannabis in a vault. Twitter users claimed it was a case of white privilege due to the amount of cannabis that could warrant jail time, but other commenters explained that the photo was probably taken at a cultivation operation.