NEW YORK (AFP) - After his ouster from the Hot Country song charts in America triggered outrage and catapulted him to overnight fame, genre-bending artist Lil Nas X is up for a Country Music Award.
His now-ubiquitous megahit Old Town Road - which marries twangy banjo with thumping bass - will compete for Musical Event Of The Year at this year's CMAs, organisers announced on Wednesday (Aug 28).
The infectious single was famously booted from Billboard's country list, with the industry tracker saying it was not in line with the genre's sound.
Its removal sparked anger over perceived white-washing in the country music industry, with many saying the hit was pigeonholed as hip hop purely because he is black.
Billboard denied those allegations - but did not allow Old Town Road back onto the country chart, even after genre veteran Billy Rae Cyrus offered vocals for a remix of the hit, which is the version up for a CMA.
Since then, Lil Nas X has broken the decades-old record for longest reign over the Billboard Hot 100, the industry's most closely watched singles chart, holding the spot for 19 weeks and fending off advances from pop juggernauts including Taylor Swift and Justin Bieber.
This week, he and Cyrus snagged MTV Video Music Award for Best Song.
They will now compete at the CMAs in November against country artists including Maren Morris and Garth Brooks.