Trent Reznor Opens Up About 'Old Town Road'

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Trent Reznor says he cleared a path for “Old Town Road” even though it used part of his song before getting permission.

The smash hit by Lil Nas X samples banjo from “34 Ghosts IV,” a track on Nine Inch Nails’ 2008 album Ghosts I-IV – but the rapper and producer YoungKio didn’t clear it with Reznor at first.

“The way it was presented to me originally is I got a call from my management saying, ‘We got a call from a panicked manager saying they had used the sample of something off Ghosts,’” Reznor told Rolling Stone. “'They should have cleared it, but it didn’t get cleared. It’s picking up some steam on the viral … charts. What do you think about that?’

“And I said, ‘Look, I’m fine with it. I get how stuff goes. They’re not saying they didn’t sample it. Just work it out, but don’t be a roadblock to this.’ I hadn’t heard it yet. Then a few weeks later, I was like, ‘Holy s**t.’”

Reznor said hearing his music in “Old Town Road” was awkward and strange “because it’s something that intimately came from you in some way. You feel a little bit violated, you know? And then you get over that, and you realize it has become something else.”

The musician is diplomatic with his feelings about the “undeniably hooky” song. “It’s been stuck in my head enough,” said Reznor. “Let’s put it that way.”