Lil Nas X Joins the Ranks of ‘Despacito’ and Mariah Carey
To exist in 2019 is to have a relationship with ‘Old Town Road,’ the runaway meme turned song of the summer. Less than a year ago, Lil Nas X was just another rapper with an internet connection and a dream, churning out singles to a micro-audience as he figured out his artistic identity. Then $30 and a downloaded beat later, the Atlanta-based songwriter struck gold when he penned the triumphant and inescapable ‘Old Town Road’ — the defiant ‘Can’t nobody tell me nothing’ refrain was inspired after his family voiced their frustrations with his artistic ambitions and he decided to turn the song into a “symbol of success.”
The country-rap song quickly gained momentum due to its sheer memeability (and providing the entire Yeehaw Agenda with a national anthem) which rapidly expanded into actual chart impact. However, controversy arose in spring when the song reached and then was made ineligible for the Hot Country chart for allegedly “not being country enough.” (Read: racism.) But not even that turbulence could dent Lil Nas X’s destined cultural impetus. One remix with Billy Ray Cyrus later, the song shot straight to the top where it’s remained for 16 weeks. This makes ‘Old Town Road’ the third longest-running Number 1 in the Billboard chart’s history (sharing the record with Mariah Carey and Boyz II Men’s ‘One Sweet Day’ and Luis Fonsi and Justin Bieber’s ‘Despacito’) and the longest-running rap song to ever top the chart, which for a tune that clocks in at only 2 minutes and 37 seconds is a deliciously ironic feat. And since Lil Nas X came out as gay in June, it’s just another display of queer excellence.
Congratulations, Lil Nas X. Listen to the record-breaking song below.