The song’s path to ubiquity was not totally without precedent. As Billboard noted at the time, Lil Nas X was the first artist to grab the number one spot with his first Hot 100 charting song since Cardi B’s “Bodak Yellow” in October 2017. Like Bauuer’s “Harlem Shake,” the first track to really benefit from the addition of streaming data to the Billboard chart formula, “Old Town Road” initially caught fire because of a popular video dance trend. It’s impossible to know what the future holds for 19-year-old Montero Lamar Hill, who goes by the stage name Lil Nas X, but he’s already signed to Columbia Records, met one of his heroes , released an EP, and made some really great tweets As the lyrics go, he’ll probably ride this until he can’t no more.
A few hours later, Lil Nas X posted the album art for his eight-song EP, called 7,” on Twitter. It features Lil Nas X in his cowboy gear, riding a horse and looking out on a skyline bright with rainbow lights.
Back in July, it became the longest-running No. 1 song in the history of the Billboard Hot 100 chart. It spent 19 weeks on top before being dethroned byÂ Billie Eilish’sÂ Bad Guy.
But if fans needed more clarity about the Old Town Road” rapper’s sexuality, he gave it to them on Sunday during the final hours of Pride month. In a tweet, Lil Nas X, 20, pointed to the lyrics of c7osure,” a song on his debut EP, as confirmation that he identifies as a member of the L.G.B.T.Q. community.
It didn’t take long for “Old Town Road” to go viral, as Lil Nas X wanted. By the start of March, cowboy-related videos were popping up across the popular short-form video app TikTok. Millions have taken part in the “Yee Haw Challenge,” where they transform in a matter of seconds from everyday teens into a lasso-holding, plaid-wearing, Stetson-sporting cowboys and cowgirls.
The sudden rise from obscurity to stardom has seemingly affected Lil Nas X. He previously opened up about his transformation from a struggling artist” to an international star in an emotional Instagram post shared back in July.
Moseying onto the scene with a surprise breakthrough, Atlanta’s Lil Nas X merged the pastoral tones of country music with hip-hop, putting his spin on a subgenre dubbed country-trap. Like similar experiments by Young Thug and Lil Tracy, the hybrid was an unexpected success for the rapper: his debut single “Old Town Road” was a viral hit on social media and streaming, sending him toward the upper reaches of the Hot 100.
Even the tagging of “Old Town Road” as “#country’ on SoundCloud can be seen as a clever maneuver to get the song in front of more listeners. The SoundCloud country section is considered less competitive than other genres, allowing “Old Town Road” to rise faster – and generating some controversy in the process.
Lil Nas X at the 2019 MTV Video Music Awards held at the Prudential Center on Aug. 26, 2019 in Newark, N.J. On May 13, 2019, Billboard confirmed Lil Nas X signed with CAA for worldwide representation.
In a clip from Tuesday’s episode of HBO’s The Shop: Uninterrupted that’s been going viral online, the “Old Town Road” rapper was asked about his decision to come out as gay.
The crossover pop star responsible for the mega-hit Old Town Road ,” currently shattering records on the Billboard Hot 100, was the headlining act at a live variety show hosted by BuzzFeed in New York on Thursday evening.
Twitter also posted a video on its music account , Twitter Music, starring the young rapper and meme impresario, in which he grabs Jack Dorsey’s badge and becomes CEO for the day. His first act? Firing @Jack. His second? Demanding an edit button, and then firing a roomful of engineers when they didn’t begin typing fast enough.
Old Town Road,” which features country singer Billy Ray Cyrus, shares the record with Mariah Carey and Boyz II Men’s One Sweet Day” in 1995-1996, and Luis Fonsi, Daddy Yankee and Justin Bieber‘s Despacito” in 2017.
In the height of “Old Town Road” hype, Lil Nas X released an EP in June simply called “7.” The EP featured six new songs, including one called “Rodeo” released with Cardi B.
The 20-year-old Atlanta born rapper spoke to The New York Times about how the country trap” hit came to be (spoiler alert: he bought a beat online from a producer in the Netherlands using a Nine Inch Nails sample and went from there). He also explained his lyrical content to Genius , letting them know what horses in the back” really means.
Since the song blew up, his online history has also come under scrutiny. A story in New York provided a closer look at his time posting under the now-banned Twitter account @NasMaraj, which was known for its “reliance on spammy tactics and copying others.” As the article explains in great detail, his old account engaged in a practice known as “tweetdecking” where users attempt to engineer virality by taking material from less popular accounts. At the same time, he was also a member of the Nicki Minaj fan community online and used his account to support her.
In the joyful video that’s become a massive hit on social media, the grooms and their guests are crushing dance moves to Beyoncé’s Before I Let Go” and Lil Nas X’s mega-hit Old Town Road,” a song that is particularly impactful to the husbands because it is sung by an openly gay Black male artist,” they told Good Morning America.
After the country charts incident, Billboard claimed their ‘decision to take the song off of the country chart had absolutely nothing to do with the race of the artist’, but allegations of racism continued.
The removal spurred a larger debate about the decision, which led to many writers and music fans criticizing Billboard’s problematic history of categorizing music around racial lines. Many other artists came to Lil Nas X’s defense, with rapper Ski Mask the Slump God referring to the decision as ” discrimination at its finest” The conversation raises a tricky question: What exactly makes a song a “country” song? The only thing that’s clear is that the debate – along with the many articles like the one you’re currently reading – likely helped the song become an even bigger hit.
Official video for “Panini” by Lil Nas X. Here’s the photo that Jeff Bezos posted from the Prime Day event, which shows the Amazon CEO sporting Lil Nas X’s graffiti-laden jacket.
That’s still a rarity. In the last five years only one other song has made the cut that wasn’t at least in Billboard’s top-40: Really Love” by D’Angelo and the Vanguard (2016), which also never cracked the Hot 100. But we could see that happen more often since the Grammys now have eight available slots in the general field instead of just five. Carlile’s Grammy breakthrough came in the first year with eight nominees, and it might be indicative of the recording academy’s desire to diversify beyond the most obvious hits, especially since the academy has made efforts to diversify its membership and awards overall.
Old Town Road was originally recorded as a solo song until Lil Nas X added country star Billy Ray Cyrus, who lent his voice to a remix of the track after it was pulled from the country charts.
Within the world of country music, groups like Florida Georgia Line and artists like Luke Bryan have been adding a healthy portion of hip-hop to their arena-packing country music for years, and rappers have worked country music reference points into their work for decades. On a broader cultural level, “Old Town Road” also arrives at what could arguably be the peak of the ” Yee Haw Agenda ,” a term coined by Bri Malandro to describe the current rise in country-western style.
Born Montero Lamar Hill, he issued the 2018 mixtape Nasarati before releasing “Old Town Road” at the end of the year. The track went viral on social media and, once it broke into the mainstream, it accumulated millions of plays on streaming services. Sampling Nine Inch Nails ‘ instrumental “34 Ghosts IV,” “Old Town Road” clocked in at just under two minutes but managed to climb into the Top 15 of the Hot 100. While the song could also have topped the Hot Country Songs chart, Billboard made the decision to remove it from the running for not containing enough country music elements. The controversy only helped boost plays and “Old Town Road” continued its climb up the main chart.
In an interview with CBS, the Old Town Road hitmaker says he knew as a teenager that he was gay and would “would just pray and pray” that his sexuality “would go away”.
From a charting perspective, the song had a relatively humble beginning. On April 8, Billboard announced that the track had moved from No. 15 on its Hot 100 Chart, where it was the previous week, to the top spot, knocking Ariana Grande’s hit “7 Rings” from its perch. Powered by a potent combination of social media excitement, genre-labeling chart controversy, and a remix featuring an assist from the king of the “Achy Breaky Heart” himself, “Old Town Road” made the precarious leap from viral internet oddity to genuine pop-culture phenomenon.
Inspired by the hit song Old Town Road by Lil Nas X. This limited release collection offers fresh remixes of classic Wrangler styles for the kind of modern cowboy that can’t be put in a box.
The latest version of the track is a remix of the Billy Ray Cyrus-assisted edition. Trapstar Young Thug and Mason Ramsey, who you might recognize as the little boy who went viral for yodeling at Walmart, join Lil Nas and Billy Ray to put their own spin on the record.
Although it isn’t clear just how much Lil Nas X has earned from his viral hit “Old Town Road” or his deal with Columbia Records, we’re willing to bet he has made a pretty penny since becoming a music sensation. And to think, he made it all happen with very little financial backing.
The forthcoming music video from Lil Nas X and Cyrus, released in May, was star-studded. Celebrities who appeared in the video — which now has more than 282 million views on YouTube — include Chris Rock, Vince Staples, Diplo, and YoungKio, the original “Old Town Road” producer.
On June 30, 2019, Lil Nas X fired up his Twitter and posted his song ” C7osure (You Like) ,” along with the caption: “Some of y’all already know, some of y’all don’t care, some of y’all not gone fk with me no more. But before this month ends I want y’all to listen closely to c7osure.” He also included a few emojis, including the rainbow graphic.
From left to right: In the music video for one of the “Old Town Road” remixes, emoji depicting Billy Ray Cyrus, Lil Nas X, Young Thug, and Mason Ramsey.