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Lil Nas X in Old Town Road
courtesy of YouTube/Lil Nas X

Trent Reznor doesn’t mind Lil Nas X sampling Nine Inch Nails

‘Old Town Road’ is ‘undeniably hooky’ after all

After holding his tongue for some time, Trent Reznor has finally commented on Lil Nas X’s “Old Town Road”, the virally-successful longest-running US number one of all time that revolves heavily around a Nine Inch Nails sample.

Specifically, the country-trap hybrid samples the beginning on NIN’s “34 Ghosts IV” (which is now very difficult to listen to without imagining Billy Ray Cyrus and heavy sub-bass kicking in).

Reznor has broken his silence on the borrowing of the intro in a new interview with Rolling Stone. “At first, when you hear your stuff turned into something else, it always feels awkward,” he says, “because it’s something that intimately came from you in some way.”

He also recounts his management getting a call from “a panicked manager” when “Old Town Road” began picking up steam on Spotify, but confirms that he agreed to clear the sample.

Though he calls the song “undeniably hooky” (which is why everyone has had it stuck in their heads for the better part of a year, presumably) Reznor also explains that he took a back seat, turning down an offer to get more involved.

“They asked if I wanted to do a cameo in the video,” he says, “and it was flattering, and I don’t mean to be disrespectful, but I don’t feel like it’s my place to shine a light on me for that.” 

“I say that with complete respect.”

What he won’t say is whether he actually likes the song. “It’s been stuck in my head enough,” he says, which leaves it pretty ambiguous.