Meaning of “Old Town Road” by Lil Nas X
Lil Nas X’s “Old Town Road” tells the story of someone living a ‘county’ life, similar to the mythical cowboys of old. And according to Lil Nas, this lifestyle is like “a movie”. To put differently, this lifestyle is highlighted by hard living and womanizing.
In the song, in addition to stating an affinity for the potentially-fatal alcoholic beverage “lean”, Nas goes as far as to state that he “cheated” on his shorty.
He also talks about possessing some of the best gear a guy in his position can desire, such as a Gucci cowboy hat and Wrangler jeans. And to those who may be living a more-extravagant lifestyle – for instance, riding in expensive cars as opposed to the horses Nas uses for transportation – he asserts that they don’t have the benefit of the rugged experiences that he has. However, he still clearly likes nice things.
Although this song begins as somewhat of a social commentary of American society, it ultimately transforms to a seemingly unrelated story of a hardcore, self-destructive cowboy lifestyle. He is apparently fed up with a lifestyle highlighted by liquor consumption, womanizing and consumerism. And his solution to overcoming these issues is to mount his horse and ride off down “the old town road” with no specific destination in mind, just until he ‘can’t ride no more’. In other words, Lil Nas X has decided to run away from the life he created and to some degree even from himself.
What has Lil Nas X has said about “Old Town Road”?
In the description portion of the song’s official music video on YouTube, Lil Nas referred to “Old Town Road” as “a less serious song”.
Quick Facts about “Old Town Road”
- Lil Nas X wrote “Old Town Road”, whereas record producer Young Kio produced it.
- December 2, 2018 was the date Lil Nas and his team released this track to streaming services.
- The song heavily uses samples in its production. And what song(s) does it sample? It samples Nine Inch Nails’ 2008 song titled “34 Ghosts”.
- The music video for “Old Town Road” heavily borrows footage from Rockstar Games’ noted action-adventure video game, Red Dead Redemption.
- Prior to gaining international popularity, this song first gained fame on the famous social media app TikTok.
- This song was initially just an ordinary meme before TikTok turned it into a global hit. “Old Town Road” went on to take a number of charts by storm. For example, it reached number 1 on Apple Music Country TOP 100. On the Hot Country Songs chart, it peaked at number 19.
- In July 2019, this song broke the record for the song with the most weeks on top of the US Billboard Hot 100. As of the ending of July 2019, it had spent a total of 17 weeks on the number 1 spot of the Hot 100.
Controversy surrounding “Old Town Road”
Having peaked at number 19 on the Hot Country Songs chart, “Old Town Road” was instantaneously removed from that chart by Billboard. According to Billboard, they were forced to do so because the song didn’t fit into the country music category. This decision by Billboard to remove the song from the aforementioned chart didn’t go down well with the artist and many fans alike. Some even accused Billboard of discrimination and racism.
In an interview with Time magazine, Lil Nas X expressed his disappointment regarding his song’s removal from Billboard’s country music chart. He then proceeded to describe the song’s genre to the world. According to him, “Old Town Road” is a “country trap” song. Owing to this, he said the song qualifies to be in not only R&B charts but also country music charts.
Who is Lil Nas X?
Prior to “Old Town Road” becoming a global monstrous hit, not much was known about him other than the fact that he was an Atlanta based rapper. According to Lil Nas, he only began rapping somewhere in June of 2018. As of the release date of “Old Town Road”, Lil Nas was an unsigned rapper. However, the success of the song quickly landed Nas his first major record deal with Columbia Records.
Remix of “Old Town Road”
On April 5, 2019, a remix of the song featuring renowned country musician Billy Ray Cyrus was released. You can listen to the remix below:
It is noteworthy to mention that even before this remix, Billy Ray Cyrus lent massive support to Lil Nas X shortly after the song was excluded from the Hot Country Songs chart. Below are Cyrus’ exact words of encouragement to Lil Nas:
The official music video for “Old Town Road (Remix)” stars Lil Nas X and Billy Ray Cyrus. Additionally, it also stars the following famous individuals:
- Chris Rock
- Vince Staples
- Haha Davis
- Rico Nasty
How did “Old Town Road” perform on the charts?
It hit number 1 on the prestigious US Billboard Hot 100. In the UK Singles Chart, it also reached number 1. As if that wasn’t enough, it also peaked at number 1 in several other countries, including Canada, Norway, Australia and Denmark.