Friday, March 5, 2021

‘Old Town Road’ bends country and rap together

Rapper Lil Nas X seems to have brought Billy Ray Cyrus back on to the charts.

The 20-year-old hip hop and country rap artist from Georgia originally released his song, Old Town Road, Dec. 3. 

The song began gaining traction on social media outlets and apps such as TikTok for its five-second video challenge called the “yeehaw challenge.”  The challenge consists of people turning themselves into cowboys and cowgirls after drinking “yeehaw juice” as Old Town Road plays in the background.  

Sophomore business management and entrepreneur major Angel Maldonado said: “ I started seeing the challenge on all of my social media feeds. It was non-stop. I didn’t know who was on the song, but that was my first time hearing Lil Nas.” 

“Old Town Road” made it to #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 Chart and #19 on the Hot Country Songs chart.

Before the song could make the number one spot on the Hot Country Songs chart, it was completely disqualified and taken off the charts for not encompassing enough elements of country music. 

Lil Nas X then set out to prove critics wrong.

Following the Billboard dilemma, Lil Nas X tweeted he wanted country singer Billy Ray Cyrus on the song. Cyrus immediately responded and the remix was born. 

The song is currently topping the charts as well as having 37,978,938 views on YouTube.

 “People can’t get enough of the song,” Maldonado said. “I was never a huge fan, but once I heard that he got Billy Ray Cyrus on the song I thought to myself, ‘Hey, this kid might not be just some one hit wonder.’” 

Though this song is extremely catchy and a borderline bridge between the caucasian and minority community, Lil Nas and Billy Ray did not invent this genre blend.  

Country Rap has been around since 1998 when Kid Rock released the very first country rap song, “Cowboy.” Well-known artist such as, Nelly and Tim McGraw; Ludacris and Jason Aldean and B.o.B and Taylor Swift have combined the unlikeliest of music genres to make a hit record. And now its Lil Nas X and Mr. Achy Breaky Heart’s turn to make history. 

Country music as we know it originated in the deep south during the 1920s according to Britannica. Sprouting with roots influenced from the blues and country can be traced back to Atlanta’s very own Decatur Street; one of the original seven streets of Georgia.  Columbia Records was also among the first labels to play a role in launching country artists to the world. 

It’s an interesting moment in music culture when each individual in the room regardless of the race, sex and political stance can enjoy the same song and together in admiration. 

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