Lil Nas X released his song, Old Town Road, on December 3, 2018. It went viral. It went really viral. But, unlike the previous viral hit (Gangnam Style, which was for a time the most-viewed video on YouTube), it’s vitality resulted in what just might be a new world record for the longest #1 song on the Billboard Top 100 chart!
Lil Was X is about to beat a world record, and go down in history! Here’s everything you need to know about the song, in chronological order and order of importance!
Sample of NIN
Lil Nas X made what’s arguably the best hip-hop/trap/country genre crossover song in history. It uses many of the elements of each genre to achieve a truly unique sound. It uses the drums and rhythms of typical trap songs combined with lyrics about horses and fields and “cheating on my baby” that are common to country songs. Another element that adds a bit of “country” is the banjo sound, which was actually sampled from a Nine Inch Nails track!
Inspired by Red Dead Redemption 2
The viral song was released right on the tails of the epic PS4 game – Red Dead Redemption 2. The game release itself was an exciting event in the gaming community, so this song came out at just the absolutely perfect time.
Viral on TikTok
As I’ve mentioned, the song is a viral sensation. And, what’s more, it went viral on TikTok of all places! The song came with everything that’s necessary for a meme track: it was released on the “young people” social network du jour, it’s a fire track, and it came with its own dance! Very quickly other TikTokers began making their own videos featuring the song, and well, the rest is history.
Signed to Columbia
The song was originally released independently by Lil Nas X, but when it went viral, he was quickly signed by Columbia records, which officially released the Old Town Road single on December 3, 2018. Now that the song could be officially purchased and streamed, it was eligible for being charted on the Billboard Chart, which it did almost immediately.
Country Chart Controversy
The song landed on the Billboard Top 100 chart within a couple of weeks of its release. Later, it became the #1 song on Billboard’s Country Chart. However, it was soon taken off because, supposedly, it did not meet the criteria of a truly country song. Needless to say, this caused a lot of controversy, with many people saying that taking the song off the Country Chart was racist. People still debate this, but it’s worth to say that Old Town Road wasn’t the first “country” song that borrowed heavily from hip-hop and trap. So, it does seem suspicious that when a black man did it, it suddenly didn’t count as a country song anymore.
Billy Ray Cyrus Remix & Number 1
What happened next was truly epic! Lil Nas X released a remix of the song featuring Billy Ray Cyrus (Miley Cyrus’ father), who is, himself, a legend in the country genre with many #1 country singles in his discography. All of a sudden, the living epitome of “country singer” gave his cosign to the song as a country song! All of a sudden, it was no longer a debate about whether this is a country song or not (although Billboard did not reinstate the song in its country chart).
Country Music Television Awards
During the Country Music Television Awards show, which took place in 2019, Lil Nas X was not invited to play his hit song. The Billboard Country chart controversy continued.
When the Black Entertainment Television Awards show happened, both Lil Nas X and Billy Ray Cyrus were invited to play their hit song. As you can see, BET had no qualms with the song being a hit and being a perfect blend of hip-hop and country.
And now we’re getting to the juiciest part of the story! Lil Nas X is one week away from setting a world record for the longest-standing #1 song on the Billboard Top 100 chart! As of now, he’s 16 weeks into his #1 tenure, sharing the world record with two other earworm songs.
Despacito and One Sweet Day
Right now the record for longest #1 song belongs to three songs:
- Old Town Road by Lil Nas X
- Despacito by Louis Fonsi, Daddy Yankee, and Justin Bieber
- One Sweet Day by Mariah Carey and Boys II Men
The fact that Mariah Carey holds this record is a common joke amongst everyone. When Despacito was about to beat Mariah’s record, Taylor Swift released Bad Blood. It’s still unclear whether this was done on purpose to save Mariah’s record, but the coincidence is suspicious, right?
But who could possibly knock down Old Town Road from the peak of the Billboard Top 100 charts? As of now, Billie Eilish is solidly holding the #2 position with her hit single Bad Guy. However, it seems that even releasing a remix to the song with Justin Bieber won’t be enough to dethrone Old Town Rode. So, I don’t know if I would bet a lot of money on it, but I’m willing to be some that Old Town Road will be the new record-holder for the “Longest #1 Song on the Billboard Top 100”.