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.
It comes after his song Old Town Road reached number one in the UK and spent a record 19 weeks at the top of the US Billboard 100 this year. The viral rapper officially came out as gay in his song called c7osure, which was released in June.
At the end of the video, Lil Nas X was pressing paninis for the staff he’d just fired. Everybody got a cowboy hat, and they all popped streamers. It was joyful, a break from the unrelenting tragedies the internet makes easily visible. Just yesterday there was a mass shooting at a garlic festival in California , and another at a party in Brooklyn Twitter, naturally, was the best place to keep up with the news.
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.
Lil Nas X, whose given name is Montero Lamar Hill, this week saw Old Town Road” log its 16th week atop the Billboard Hot 100, tying the record for the longest No. 1 stint in the chart’s 61-year history.
He is part of a pop landscape that has increasingly welcomed performers who have come out as queer, bisexual or gay. While mainstream gay megastars remain relatively rare in the worlds of country, rap and even pop, many genre-spanning artists, from Frank Ocean , Tyler the Creator, and Kevin Abstract to Janelle Monáe, Brandi Carlile and Troye Sivan, have spoken openly or written songs about same-sex attraction and relationships. And as acceptance of sexuality has become more widespread in culture generally, many younger artists have eschewed the need for major coming-out announcements in favor of more matter-of-fact acknowledgment.
However, one collaboration Lil Nas X didn’t want to do was with presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg. Lil Nas X was invited to appear at a BuzzFeed event alongside Buttigieg to recite the lyrics for “Old Town Road,” but the singer reportedly refused to participate in order to avoid seeming like he was endorsing the candidate. Buttigieg later dropped out of the event altogether.
Reality television gave us Kelly Clarkson, Fantasia Barrino, One Direction, Danity Kane, Fifth Harmony and many others, for better or for worse. YouTube is directly responsible for helping Justin Bieber, Shawn Mendes, Tori Kelly, Carly Rae Jepsen and Ed Sheeran become music stars. In the social media age, Lil Nas X is arguably the first microplatform crossover star.
The internet killed subcultures, because it made the feedback loop between a genre’s creation and its commercialisation practically instantaneous: there’s no hiding online from the market. But the internet hasn’t killed identity. Far from it. The idea of identity as our primary mode of meaning-making is everywhere. Writing in The New Yorker about Old Town Road”, critic Amanda Petrusich argued that we have arrived at a moment in which self-definition trumps any other kind of categorisation”. In a sense this is what Lil Nas X succeeded at: by listing his track as a country song on music platforms like Soundcloud, iTunes and Spotify, he swerved around the assumptions of identity that have become baked into country music as a commercial genre, particularly the racist assumption that country is, by default, white” music. He also gamed the algorithm.
The track just notched its 12th week at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 – the longest run for any artist this year. Just days before the University of British Columbia’s annual Welcome Back BBQ, country rap star Lil Nas X has cancelled his scheduled performance.
Hailing from Atlanta, Georgia, Lil Nas X rose to fame this year with his smash-hit Old Town Road” featuring Billy Ray Cyrus. In fact, the single set a Billboard record with an unprecedented 17 weeks in the top spot He was also the first artist to come out as gay while at number one on the charts.
By the end of July, “Old Town Road” became the longest-running No. 1 song in US chart history. Its 17-week run put the song ahead of previous record holders “Despacito” by Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee, and “One Sweet Day,” a Mariah Carey-Boyz II Men collaboration from 1995.
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.
His latest appearance was on BuzzFeed’s first-ever INTERNET LIVE” alongside New York Mayor and presidential candidate Bill de Blasio and Jersey Shore star JWOWW. Perhaps he’ll become de Blasio’s running mate. He already has political ties. Presidential candidate Tim Ryan used ‘Old Town Road’ as his walk out song during the democratic debate.
Old Town Road was released on December 3, 2018, and went viral due to a related ‘yeehaw challenge’ on TikTok, as well as the movement, ‘ yeehaw agenda ‘.
Okay, so, if you’re unfamiliar with the concept of Ten Second Songs, it is a guy on YouTube – named Anthony Vincent – who takes songs and performs them in a bevy of different styles, typically in the mode of if they were performed by another artist.
As the memes intensified, the song spread beyond Tik Tok. By the end of March, the ubiquity of “Old Town Road” was widespread enough that both Justin Bieber and the Texas Tech basketball team , which posted a locker room celebration video set to the song, began to take notice. In April, even Avengers star Mark Ruffalo was getting in on the fun, posting a photo of himself in a cowboy hat and joking about taking his horse “down to old town road.” Unquestionably, Lil Nas X had arrived.
It happened once he stopped making basic rap” and began making music that matched his online personality – specifically, a song rooted in an idea that wasn’t at all basic, that mixed the funny meme culture he loved with hip-hop bounce and country gravel, that was short, to the point. He released Old Town Road” on SoundCloud and iTunes last December, then spent all his waking hours pushing the track online, creating memes or laying search bait on Reddit to jump-start interest. He’d smoke weed anytime he came across a little, just to ease his mind.
If you’re hoping for an explainer, look to Lil Nas X himself for details. The song isn’t just about horses. It’s actually a reflection on popular culture, family problems and fame. He knew he had a hit on his hands, even though he did record it in a studio in his bedroom. This line right here, this is gonna be the line that people repeat,” he told Genius about the now-infamous horses in the back” line.
Some people think Lil Nas X’s chart-topping hit just appeared on the radio waves out of nowhere. But that’s far from the case. Long before everyone — including pop star Justin Bieber , the Texas Tech college basketball team , and actor Will Smith — were singing along to the popular song, “Old Town Road” had exploded on the scene as a meme on the video sharing app TikTok, according to Time “Millions of video creators used the song as a soundtrack to transform themselves into cowboys and cowgirls,” the publication reported.
He spoke out about the Billboard controversy – the song was famously removed from the Billboard country charts until Billy Ray Cyrus joined him. I have a few country songs. I’m not going to lie and say I’m this huge country fan, but I respect the genre, because I respect every genre of music,” he admitted.
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.
It was only a matter of time, given that rap from the American South has been the driving force of US popular music – and therefore of global popular music – for the past half-decade, that a country renaissance would take shape, led by black musicians. Beyoncé was onto this, naturally, before it was a trend; she may have started the trend. Her album Lemonade (2016) reconfigured Southern iconography from a black woman’s perspective, and even boasted a full-blown country tune, Daddy Lessons”. Solange paid homage to black rural life on this year’s When I Get Home, and in between these efforts from the sisters Knowles have appeared hayseed imaginings from, among others, Young Thug (Beautiful Thugger Girls, 2017) and Lil Tracy with Lil Uzi Vert (Like a Farmer”, 2018). Late in 2018, black listeners and critics named this tendency the yeehaw agenda”; credit for the phrase goes to social media identity Bri Malandro, who first floated it on Twitter.
Lil Nas X has emerged from nobody to a worldwide famous artist in a very short time with his song Old Town Road.” Old Town Road has spent 14 weeks on UK charts in which it was at No. 1 for two weeks. In the US, the song has been in the top 50 charts for more than four weeks.
He’s been nominated for his song ‘Old Town Road (Remix)’ which features none other than Billy Ray Cyrus. Unfortunately, this is not the first time Lil Nas X’s motives and moves have been questioned.
key. Lil Nas X went viral earlier in 2019, thanks to the country anthem, Old Town Road,” which spent a record-breaking 19 weeks atop the Billboard 100 He followed up with a song called Panini,” which has since achieved platinum certification.
Lil Nas X (aka Montero Hill), was born and in Lithia Springs, a city outside of Atlanta, and worked at Zaxby’s and Six Flags before pursuing music. Old Town Road ” ignited controversy when, after debuting at No. 19 on the Hot Country Songs chart, Billboard removed it in March, deeming it more of a rap song than country.