Pot, weed, ganja, green. The stuff goes by a lot of names, but Billy Ray Cyrus can’t say the word “marijuana.”
The country veteran is enjoying an unlikely return to the top of the charts through his assist on Lil Nas X’s all-conquering hit “Old Town Road.”
In a recently-aired interview with Taste of Country, Cyrus recounted how he and co-writer Jozzy got to reworking the original set of lyrics, and a dope line got the chop.
The “Achy Breaky Heart” singer recounted how he was asked to write a verse for the remix, “batted around a couple of ideas” with Jozzy, and completed the task within 10 minutes.
The song is now familiar to millions, but Cyrus didn’t get his way in the verse which opens, “Hat down, cross town, livin’ like a rockstar/ Spent a lot of money on my brand new guitar.”
He recalls, “For some reason, I immediately thought it was funny to say, ‘Baby’s got a habit: diamond rings and marijuana.’ See it is funny. They said, ‘Everything but the marijuana.’ [Jozzy] 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.’”
Also during the on-air chat, Cyrus walked through his initial invitation with Columbia Records and how he heard the track on Tik Tok and “immediately thought it was a hit.” And there was a brief moment when he was unsure whether he could hit the high note. “Once I got up there,” he said, “it was a lot of fun.”
Cyrus jumped on board a remix of the single, which dropped on April 5. The rest is chart history. “Old Town Road” has extended its record run atop the Billboard Hot 100 at 18 weeks, and it has bagged chart titles around the globe.