Yee-Haw Is Country Music Evolving?

Shelley Wang

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The music industry is constantly changing with the integration of different genres. Country music often remains the same. With lyrics about a drunken night, a little back dirt road, and of course a song dedicated to how much they love America. Country artists have been known to keep within their lane. 

Upcoming artists like Kacey Musgraves and Lil Nas X have made waves within their industry by openly supporting liberal groups and mixing different genres.

Musgraves early on has said things that would shock what people think are average country listeners. 

With lyrics like “make lots of noise and kiss lots of boys or kiss lots of girls if that’s something you’re into when the straight and narrow gets a little too straight roll up a joint, I would” she is never shy from showing her support to different communities. She has openly spoken about her support towards the LGBTQ community. When she won album of the year at the 2018 Grammys she stated how she is in such support of people of color and people within the LGBTQ community to integrate within country music because it needs to be represented by more than just white males. 

Musgraves recently headlined many large non-country festivals like Coachella, Outsidelands, and Bonnaroo. Breaking the barriers between country fans and non-country music listening folk.

In a recent article by Esquire, Ken Burns a critically acclaimed American filmmaker who will debut a documentary called Country Music on PBS states that “Lil Nas X is a ‘mic-drop’ moment for country music”. 

Being a black and gay male in the country music industry is seen as complete taboo. There is simply no one like that in that realm until Lil Nas X changed it. 

There was lots of talk over the fact that Billboard had removed Lil Nas X’s most famous single ‘Old Town Road’ from the hot country songs chart but later they released an article explaining their motives behind that was because it was not presented as a country song. 

Despite what they said there were many fans online that felt as if they did this because they were not accepting of what changes Lil Nas was trying to bring to country music. 

The mesh of different genres especially rap and country are doing much more than just creating a new type of music. But instead doing this is waging the gap between two very different worlds. Mixing music can create an understanding between people with different kinds of backgrounds. 

With Lil Nas X being a black gay country singer and Kacey Musgraves openly supporting the LGBTQ community and marijuana legalization this brings a different light to the country music world that is very much needed.