“Old Town Road” by Lil Nas X ft. Billy Ray Cyrus is a cultural phenomenon that took the world by storm in 2019. The song, which fuses elements of country and hip-hop, quickly became a viral sensation and spent a record-breaking 19 weeks atop the Billboard Hot 100 chart. In this article, we will take a closer look at the story behind this groundbreaking hit and explore its impact on popular music and culture.
Lil Nas X, whose real name is Montero Lamar Hill, was a relatively unknown artist when he released “Old Town Road” in December 2018. The song, which samples a banjo riff from a Nine Inch Nails track and features Lil Nas X rapping about his love of country life, quickly caught the attention of social media users and became a viral sensation on platforms like TikTok. As the song gained popularity, Lil Nas X started to promote it on his Twitter account and encourage fans to create their own dance videos to the track.
In March 2019, “Old Town Road” debuted on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, but it was controversially removed a few weeks later after Billboard deemed it not to be a country song. This decision sparked a debate about race and genre in music, with many critics and fans arguing that Lil Nas X was being unfairly excluded from the country music charts due to his black and queer identity.
Undeterred, Lil Nas X continued to promote the song and eventually caught the attention of country music legend Billy Ray Cyrus. In April 2019, Cyrus recorded a remix of “Old Town Road” with Lil Nas X, adding his own verses and lending the song a sense of legitimacy in the country music world. The remix was an instant hit, topping the charts and becoming the longest-running number-one single in Billboard history.
The success of “Old Town Road” has had a profound impact on popular music and culture. The song’s genre-bending sound and viral success have inspired other artists to experiment with new styles and sounds, while its messages of self-acceptance and inclusion have resonated with audiences around the world.
It started as a meme on the social media app TikTok before it became a massive hit, with Lil Nas X initially promoting the song on the platform and encouraging users to create their own dance videos to the track. Also, the song was originally rejected by Billboard from the Hot Country Songs chart because it did not “embody enough elements of today’s country music to chart in its current version.”
About the Artist
Lil Nas X, whose real name is Montero Lamar Hill, is an American rapper, singer, and songwriter. Born in 1999 in Atlanta, Georgia, he rose to fame in 2019 with his debut single “Old Town Road,” which became a viral hit on social media and spent a record-breaking 19 weeks at the top of the Billboard Hot 100 chart. His music is known for its eclectic blend of genres, including country, hip-hop, and pop, as well as its bold and often provocative lyrics and visuals. Lil Nas X has been praised for his groundbreaking contributions to LGBTQ+ representation in mainstream music, and has won numerous awards and accolades for his work, including two Grammy Awards and three MTV Video Music Awards.