Trent Reznor Is "Flattered" Lil Nas X Sampled Nine Inch Nails For "Old Town Road"

October 28, 2019

If you are familiar with the rap/country song "Old Town Road" by Lil Nas X, you may recognize the banjo section from the beginning as a sample from "34 Ghosts IV" by Nine Inch Nails off their 2008 album Ghosts I-IV.

While speaking with Rolling Stone, Reznor revealed that he was flattered to learn that his music was part of a record-setting juggernaut of a song. Especially since he had no idea it was going to be as massive as it turned out to be.

It all started when Reznor received a phone call from his management informing him that "Old Town Road" sampled "34 Ghosts IV" without his permission. The song was beginning to pick up steam, and Reznor cleared its use of his song, resulting in his name being added as a songwriting credit. It wasn't until a few weeks later where he was surprised by the song's "undeniably hooky" style.

Reznor admits that hearing his work repurposed can sometimes feel strange and uncomfortable. He compares "Old Town Road" to when Johnny Cash covered "Hurt", a song referencing Reznor's past drug use, and hear it as a country love song. He was taken aback at first, but then grew to appreciate it. Although "34 Ghosts IV" did not come from an emotionally-charged place as "Hurt" did, its reuse was still a strange sensation to say the lease.

Reznor revealed that he was even offered a cameo to appear in the "Old Town Road" music video, but declined.