Lil Nas X’s Old Time Road currently sits at No.1 on the Billboard chart. It’s been at that spot for 11 weeks running. That’s not all, Old Time Road reached No. 1 in about 17 countries since its release. Some of these countries are: Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Ireland, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom. It also charted within the top ten in various other markets.
When the nominations for the 2019 Teen Choice Awards were released yesterday (June 19), Lil Nas X topped that board too with 5 nominations. The rapper, originally named Montero Lamar Hill, was nominated for Choice Male Artiste, Choice Song: Male Artist, Choice R&B/Hip-Hop Song and Choice Breakout Artiste. The song, whose original composition is one minute and fifty-three seconds in length is the fifth-shortest number-one single in the history of the Billboard Hot 100, and the shortest since 1965.
Old Town Road’s success has not been without controversy – the biggest one being about genre. The song has been variously described by publications as a country rap, country, trap, or Southern hip-hop song. However, clearly, Lil Nas X was not interested in labels as at the time he released the first version of the song in December last year. He later categorized as country trap. The song would have risen to No. 1 on the Country Songs Billboard but it was controversially disqualified from the country genre on the grounds that it was not a good fit.
The song’s popularity started on a social video app TikTok which led to Columbia Record signing the 20-year-old rapper. YoungKio produced the song where he featured a sample of the instrumental piece “34 Ghosts IV” by Nine Inch Nails, with the band members receiving songwriting and production credits. Two remixes of the song featuring Billy Ray Cyrus on one and Cyrus and Diplo on another was released in April this year. Another remix featuring Young Thug is scheduled for future release.
Apart from bringing personal glory to Lil Nas X, several other people are finding innovative and exciting ways to use the songs to influence society – especially in education.
An Alabama teacher made a remix of the song which she used to help her students through test-taking anxiety. The 23-year-old teacher at Sun Valley Elementary School in Birmingham, Jasmine Merlette, shared the video on several social media platforms and it went viral.
On Facebook alone, it garnered over 21,000 views on its first day of release. And it sparked discussions about how educators should find creative ways to help students learn.
The third-grade students of Merlette’s class, were excitedly singing the new lyrics of the song: “I’m gonna ace my test, I’m gonna raise my score, I’m gonna solve ’til I can’t no more”.
Last month, Lil Nas X himself performed the song to students of the Lander Elementary School in Mayfield Heights in Ohio. This was after he had seen a clip of them performing it as the finale on their talent show. The performance turned into a sing-along as the excited and surprised students could not watch the musician sing the hit song all by himself.
Talent show is an important part of the school curriculum and it is such an important gesture for Lil Nas X to dedicate time to be a part of the students’ life.