If you went on social truyền thông media in 2019, chances are you saw something about viral musical sensation Lil Nas X, also known as the 20-year-old rapper behind "Old Town Road"—the tuy nhiên everyone loves to lớn love (and hate). And now, it"s earned three nominations at the 2020 Grammys, adding lớn Nas X"s total of six nominations. His others include Best Rap/Sung Performance for "Panini", Best Album of the Year, và Best New Artist.

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"I’m just getting started as an artist," he told the L.A. Times, "and I know there is so much more khổng lồ come, but the nominations gave me more validation than I already had given myself."

And as if we needed anymore good news, the Recording Academy confirmed that Lil Nas X and Billy Ray Cyrus would be performing “Old Town Road All-Stars" at the ceremony. What"s the "All-Stars" all about? Apparently, Diplo, BTS, và Mason Ramsey will be taking the stage along with other unspecified "surprise guests." So, FYI, the show airs on Sunday, January 26 at 8 p.m. ET—because you"re definitely not going khổng lồ want to lớn miss all that.

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Regardless, the star seemed khổng lồ have sent a clear response khổng lồ any haters with a remix of "Old Town Road" featuring bona fide country mainstay Billy Ray Cyrus—a move that only created more hype around the tuy nhiên after its initial release. But take away the controversy and the admittedly contagious hook, và you"re left with some decidedly country-style lyrics.

When zeroing in on those catchy lyrics—which also include the defiant line "Can"t nobody tell me nothin""—X has revealed that the song represents something far more meaningful than you"d expect.

According khổng lồ Time, just last year the young artist was staying at his sister"s trang chủ after he dropped out of college, a decision that left his parents less-than-pleased. He"d spend his days self-promoting his music, but soon, even that situation began to lớn fall apart.

""Old Town Road" came after a period of feeling lượt thích I was out of options," he told Time. "I was living with my sister. She was pretty much fed up with me being there. That’s where the chorus lyric came from. It was me saying, "I want lớn leave everything behind...." The "can’t nobody tell me nothing" part is referring to my parents: wanting me to go back to lớn school, not thinking it’s that likely for to make it."

X also explained his words lớn The thành phố new york Times.

“I felt like a loner cowboy,” he said. “I wanted khổng lồ take my horse khổng lồ the Old Town Road & run away. The horse is lượt thích a car. The Old Town Road, it’s lượt thích a path khổng lồ success. In the first verse, I pack up, ready to go.”

Well, there you have it. What is currently the most-talked-about tuy nhiên in the U.S. Has a pretty relatable backstory—no matter if you actually like it or not. Nearly all of us have been in that place where we feel lost or misunderstood, & an outlet is always needed to express those feelings.

This nội dung is imported from poll. You may be able lớn find the same nội dung in another format, or you may be able khổng lồ find more information, at their web site.

X"s vice just so happened to take khung in a controversial genre-mixing, conversation-starting, unforgettable viral hit.

Check out the full lyrics to lớn "Old Town Road" below, via Billboard.

Yeah, I"m gonna take my horse khổng lồ the old town road
I"m gonna ride "til I can"t no more
I"m gonna take my horse to the old town road
I"m gonna ride "til I can"t no more (Kio, Kio)I got the horses in the back
Horse tack is attached
Hat is matte black
Got the boots that"s black to match
Ridin" on a horse, ha
You can whip your Porsche
I been in the valley
You ain"t been up off the porch, now
Can"t nobody tell me nothin"You can"t tell me nothin"Can"t nobody tell me nothin"You can"t tell me nothin"Ridin" on a tractor
Lean all in my bladder
Cheated on my baby
You can go và ask her
My life is a movie
Bull ridin" và boobies
Cowboy hat from Gucci
Wrangler on my booty
Can"t nobody tell me nothin"You can"t tell me nothin"Can"t nobody tell me nothin"You can"t tell me nothin"Yeah, I"m gonna take my horse khổng lồ the old town road
I"m gonna ride "til I can"t no more
I"m gonna take my horse lớn the old town road
I"m gonna ride "til I can"t no more
I got the...

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Kenzie Jean-Philippe is the editorial assistant at Oprah covering pop culture, TV, movies, celebrity, và lifestyle. She loves a great Oprah viral moment và all things Netflix—but come summertime, Big Brother has her heart. On a day off you"ll find her curled up with a new juicy romance novel.

The self-taught 20-year-old musician galloped to lớn global fame with his chart-topping tuy nhiên that fuses country & hip-hop together



A đoạn phim of elementary school students singing the breakout hit with Lil Nas X went viral in May. "It was an incredible sight lớn see." Kayla Reefer

Nothing makes a person feel more lượt thích a lonesome cowboy than being forced lớn stare down the xuất hiện highway of the rest of his life. Last year, the then-19-year-old Montero Lamar Hill was doing just that, having dropped out of the University of West Georgia và sleeping on his sister’s floor.

Hill, who spent his entire life online & witnessed firsthand the way stars are born through the constantly shifting world of mạng internet content, passed these days making humorous videos on Facebook & going viral on Twitter. But being well liked online doesn’t pay your sister’s rent. By the end of 2018, she wanted him to lớn move out & take care of himself.

Having grown up in the tiny town of Lithia Springs, Georgia, Hill never envisioned himself as a pop star until he began experimenting with rapping over beats he found online. He released a few songs, to tepid online reception, but now he needed lớn think big. The next tuy nhiên he would make needed lớn be his way out.

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He spent $30 to tải về a beat made by Young
Kio, a producer in the Netherlands (which prominently samples an instrumental recording by the American rock band Nine Inch Nails), & channeled both his Southern roots và his feelings of solitude.

“I’m gonna take my horse to the old town road / I’m gonna ride ’til I can’t no more,” he sang, recording on his own in an Atlanta studio on December 2, 2018. Later that day, he released “Old Town Road” under the name Lil Nas X.

Within four months, “Old Town Road” was the No. 1 song on the Billboard Hot 100—and it stayed there for a record-breaking 19 weeks. Almost one year after its release, it has been streamed more than a billion times on Spotify. Lil Nas X signed a contract with Columbia Records, launched his own clothing line with Wrangler (a nod khổng lồ one of the song’s lyrics), adopted some puppies and has been spotted hanging out with celebrities from Rihanna to lớn Oprah.

The story of how “Old Town Road” became the most dominant musical force of 2019 is a mixtape of the flouting of musical boundaries, the explosive potential of digital media, the unfailing capacity of young people khổng lồ surprise and disrupt, & culture’s infinite appetite for the new. It is also the American story of the self-made artist-entrepreneur, updated with instantaneous global fame.


Lil Nas X’s campaign began as soon as “Old Town Road” was released; he heavily promoted the track through self-created memes—amusing images và videos that spread quickly & widely online—on Twitter và Instagram, claiming at one point that he made “more than a hundred short videos” meant to lớn amp up interest. He even tried lớn recruit country star Billy Ray Cyrus for a remix, which came khổng lồ fruition in March.

“I saw the power to make something bigger from social media because it’s done so often nowadays,” he explains. “I didn’t want khổng lồ miss my chance. I went for it.”

His timing was impeccable: As he was hustling, a new short-form video-sharing app, Tik
Tok, was catching fire. Users could record any kind of video—dancing, lip-synching, model-posing—set to lớn its catalog of songs và reach hundreds of millions of global users immediately. “Old Town Road” became an easy fit for its young gene Z users, who created cowboy memes set lớn snippets from the track. It spread faster than even Lil Nas X expected.

It helped that the song was a sugar rush of catchiness that clocked in at just under two minutes. It was both a novelty in the way he emphasized his own Southern accent to lớn flex lượt thích a rapping Johnny Cash but also a serious feat in semi-innovation: The steely guitar riff from the Nine Inch Nails tuy nhiên that Young
Kio’s beat samples made way for the familiar hi-hat snare drums that build the foundation of rap’s “trap” sub-genre. “Old Town Road” fused together two adjacent musical worlds, wholly aware of how humorous the concept was.

As the song climbed multiple music rankings, Billboard removed “Old Town Road” from its Hot Country chart, claiming that the twangy tuy nhiên about a lone cowboy riding his horse did not “embrace enough elements of today’s country music.” The decision rankled fans and provoked controversy, especially given that trắng country artists like Florida Georgia Line and Luke Bryan have been introducing more rap và hip-hop elements to lớn their “traditional” country sound.

“That is some BS,” the country singer Meghan Linsey tweeted in response to lớn Billboard’s move, saying the song’s “got plenty of ‘country elements’ và its as ‘country’ as anything on country radio, tbh.” Moses Sumney, a singer-songwriter, said, “Lil Nas X’s country chart removal is discriminatory considering how hip-hop production is appropriated in today’s pop-country.”

“Old Town Road” was then a perfect storm: Young kids appreciated its meme fodder while older fans, musicians và critics began taking notice because of the debate about race và genre it ignited. For his part, Lil Nas X was surprised. “I didn’t think any conversation would happen,” he says. “I just thought it would be a nice tuy vậy that would vày good for me.”

Cyrus, who caused his own country music stir in 1992 with his breakthrough pop hit “Achy Breaky Heart,” responded to Lil Nas X’s earlier plea by writing & recording a new verse for “Old Town Road,” which was added to the original. The remixed version catapulted to the đứng top Hot 100 spot, where it stayed for nearly half of this year, while blocking hit-making heavyweights like Taylor Swift & Ed Sheeran from the top.

The next step for Lil Nas X was proving that he was more than a one-time viral sensation. That has worked pretty spectacularly so far. In June, he released 7, his debut eight-song EP, that featured top names in pop, rap và rock like Travis Barker, Cardi B và Ryan Tedder. He even asked Kurt Cobain’s daughter, Frances Bean Cobain, for permission to lớn interpolate Nirvana’s “In Bloom” on his current đứng top 10 hit “Panini.” She was a fan of “Old Town Road” & quickly obliged.

Onstage, Lil Nas X is presenting himself as a pop star in the vein of Usher, one of his favorite artists growing up. His performances now feature choreography và backup dancers, which he debuted at the MTV clip Music Awards & in the “Panini” music video. On Twitter and Instagram, he is as fiercely funny as he was when he was best known for making memes; he is still creating viral nội dung to promote his songs and interact with his growing fanbase.

“I wanted khổng lồ establish, very early on, that I’m not going in whatever direction I’m expected lớn go into because I don’t want to lớn limit myself on what I’m allowed to do,” Lil Nas X explains.

Audiences are still figuring out how to lớn categorize him. But he’s happily embracing his expansive talent. “I am a rapper in my head. I am a singer in my head. I am a pop star,” he says. “I can try to vì chưng as many things as possible.”

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