How Lil Nas X Took ‘Old Town Road’ From TikTok Meme to No. 1 | Diary of a Song

“Hey. What’s going on?” “Everything’s going on.” “Everything is going on. Mr. Cyrus, how are you?” “I’m doing good, Joe. How you doing?” “Yo, what’s up?” “I like your robe.” “Thanks.” “Yeah, I always
make beats in this.” “Play the number one
song in the world.” “O.K. Let’s hear ‘Old
Town Road’ by Lil Nas X. (SINGING) I got the
horses in the back. Horse tack is attached. Hat is matte black. Got the boots that’s
black to match.” “No! No!” “So you were just,
like, throwing stuff up on SoundCloud that you
recorded in your bedroom?” “Either in the
closet of my bedroom, or the closet in
my grandma’s house. Like, making studios
out of those.” “Well, I’m from
the Netherlands. I live in a small town
next to Amsterdam. This is where I make my beats. It’s just, like, a
desk with two monitors, and I’m just selling
my beats online. I can make quality
beats really fast. So I can, like, put out,
like, 10 a day, you know?” [music] “Banjos, you know? It really just hits me. That’s why I made the track.” “Who wrote the sample?” “It was Nine Inch Nails.” [music] “But I had never heard of
Nine Inch Nails before. But they have — they make some
really good music, you know?” “I always get my beats,
like, from YouTube. I would just go through,
like, 100 beats.” “It’s really just luck that
people just find your stuff, you know? It’s really luck.” “I found the beat on,
like, Halloween night. The beat was just
speaking to me, you know? I was, like, this
song’s gonna be great.” “Did you conceive of the
song as a country rap song?” “Country trap. But, like, if I had to
choose which one it’s more leaning towards, it would
definitely be country. I got the horses in the back. Horse tack is attached. Hat is matte black. Got the boots that’s
black to match. I knew ‘Old Town
Road’ had to have some kind of
funny lyrics, just to keep people entertained. Cowboy hat from Gucci. Wrangler on my booty.” “Did you have a
job at the time? Were you working?” “No, I was not working. Like, I was pushing my music
through the internet, like, full time. From the very night I released
‘Old Town Road’ on Twitter, this song was
already, like, moving. (SINGING) I’m gonna take my
horse to the old town road. I’m gonna ride till
I can’t no more. I got the horses
in the back — “ “I randomly found
it on Twitter. Somebody put his song over
a video that I already did. And then I was like, hold on. This song is — this
song is kind of hard.” “(SINGING) I got the
horses in the back.” “It put the black yeehaw
agenda and the song together, and it just — shot off.” “A lot of people like to
say, you know, it was, like, a kid
accidentally got it. It’s like, no, this
is no accident. Like, I’ve been — I’ve been pushing this hard. The internet is basically,
like, my parents, in a way. I was raised
picking up on stuff. I had to learn how to use
it, you know, in my own way.” “I saw you made that post on
Reddit where you were, like, what’s that song
that goes, I’m gonna take my horse
to the old town road?” “Yeah, I did that. Because I knew that’s what
people were gonna search. Oh, my god. That’s embarrassing.” “I didn’t really know
the song existed. I think it was a girl
who sent me a meme, and she was like,
hey, I heard you’re producer tag.” “Kio. Kio.” “So you’d never
met Nas X before?” “Never. No.” “You didn’t know who he was?” “I didn’t know who he was. Nothing. I feel like it was
meant to be, you know? Me finding him right on time.” “(SINGING) I got the
horses in the back. Horse tack is attached.” “It’s 15 second videos. I have a hard time explaining
it to anyone that’s like, so you make money how? I’m like, I dance on camera.” “Are you the first person
to post ‘Old Town Road’ on Tik Tok?” It went [bleep] crazy.” “(SINGING) I got the
horses in the back.” “Everyone was
dressed like a cowboy for, like, three weeks.” “(SINGING) Got the boots
that’s black to match. Ridin’ on a horse — “ “Once it hit Tik Tok, and it
was going viral, I was like, O.K. We won.” “We passed the
biggest songs out, and we just passed it,
like it’s nothing.” “(SINGING) You can’t
tell me nothing. Can’t nobody tell me nothing.” “You hear that? That’s ‘Old Town Road,’
Lil Nas X’s big hit, and it was tearing up
the country charts until Billboard pulled it off for
not being country enough.” “Oh, whoa, whoa, whoa, now. You got too much
dip on your chip.” “Do you think there’s a racial
element to ‘Old Town Road’ being removed from
the country chart?” “I see it as more
of, like, a — we let certain things
slide, but maybe this one is too different. If we allow this, who knows?” “I was really mad, because if
it didn’t go off the charts, it would be,
like, number one.” “Billy Ray, tell me when you
first heard ‘Old Town Road.’” “I heard the song
on March the 16th.” “Who played it for you?” “Tish.” “That’s your wife?” “Yep. And we were having
our morning coffee, and she got a call, I think,
from Ron Perry at the record label. And he said, hey,
we’ve got this thing, we’d love for your
husband to hear it. And I actually stood
up out of my chair. I stood up and go,
god, I love that. That dude is original.” “If you go to my past tweets,
like, two days after I put out the song, I’m like,
Twitter, please help me get Billy Ray on there. Because I was, like,
Billy Ray Cyrus would be perfect for this.” “(SINGING) Hat down,
crosstown, living like a rockstar. Spend a lot of money on my — “ “Billy Ray, where’s ‘Old
Town Road’ on the charts right now?” “Which charts?” “The main chart. The Billboard Hot 100.” “Oh, ‘Old Town Road’
is number one.” “Yeah, I’m gonna take my
horse to the old town road. I’m gonna ride till
I can’t no more.” “It’s my beats, you know? I just made it
here, in my bedroom, and now the whole entire
planet is listening to it.” “Ridin’ on a horse.” “I can’t go down the street
without hearing that song at all. From the internet,
which is amazing.” “(SINGING) Can’t nobody
tell me nothing.” “Every now and then, a song
like that comes around, and I count my blessings
that they reached out to me, and just let me be a
part of this moment.” “Are you ready to play
it a million times for the rest of your life?” “Yes. I’m gonna play this song — this is my life
song at this point.” “(SINGING) I’m gonna ride
till I can’t no more. Yeah, I’m gonna
take my horse — “ “Do you have plans
to come to the U.S.?” “Yeah. Yeah, of course. But I’m, like,
gonna let you know, so I can’t just drop
everything, and just go there.” “(SINGING) I’m gonna ride — “ “Have you ever
ridden a horse?” “Not yet.” “That’s the craziest part.” “Maybe in the music video?” “Oh, of course. Come on, now.” [horse neighing]

100 thoughts on “How Lil Nas X Took ‘Old Town Road’ From TikTok Meme to No. 1 | Diary of a Song”

  1. hey, this is Joe Coscarelli (the reporter from the video)! thanks so much for watching, check out the rest of the series here, featuring episodes with Billie Eilish, Sheck Wes, Zedd, Kacey Musgraves and Lizzo…

    and here’s a little more info on “Old Town Road” and the coverage of the song The Times has done so far

  2. 33°🇺🇸™ #MAILTHATMONEYIN°™™™™™™™™™™™™™™™™™™™™™™™™™™™™™™™™


  4. I liked whoever edited this video. Very fun and clean edit. Please continue to cover stories like this. Apply this style of editing to more serious topics. This can be very informative and fun for everyone

  5. So, correct if I'm wrong but, the best rap/hip hop singer is white [Eminem] and the best country singer is black [Lil Nax]..

  6. The producer got completely left out. He sold his best too early lol. I guess there was no way of him knowing the song was gonna go viral

  7. I've never been a fan of Country & Western Music but I am a fan of 'art'. For me the video from the Country Music Awards was 'art'. I've been sharing on FaceBook & Twitter as a 'must watch'. Just wonderful. Thank you Lil Nas X & Billy Ray and thank you Joe Coscarelli for posting the back story.

  8. The country chat better open their eyes . The whole is changing and soon hip hop will be mixing with country and it will be still country music. Deal with it. Hahahaha

  9. See what happens if you can go above and beyond racisms, discriminations and all other Barriers craps?… you achieve Greatness

  10. Okay guys. The reason why BILLBOARD pulled the song from the country charts is because the song is a RAP song. No country song has ever used a computerized synthetic keyboard. No country song has ever sampled another song, either. But another and more compelling reason why the song was pulled from the country charts was because of MEANT TO BE. The adult contemporary song was performed by LA pop music star Bebe Rexha with country music group Florida Georgia Line. But the song went on to hit #1 on the country charts for FIFTY consecutive weeks. It shattered the old record by a staggering 28 weeks. Okay – until NARAS (the organization that runs the Grammys) decided to nominate Bebe Rexha for a Best New Artist award. This despite the fact that she had been a successful pop singer for FIVE YEARS! The other pop stars were understandably irate over this. But the biggest losers were the country music hierarchy. They were HUMILIATED by their chart's all-time record at #1 was now held by a pop singer. And they were determined to NEVER EVER let that happen again. And there you have it. That's why OLD TOWN ROAD was yanked from the country charts after only 2 weeks.

  11. Check out this parody video from a couple Elementary School Principals trying to be cool!

  12. That song is going to change everything, what a story! Billy Ray is a wonderful human being, what you did tells the kind of person you are.

  13. Love this song and Lil Nas X…doing it big. I write and play songs….check it out. If you subscribe then you'll receive a coupon for one free pop tart. Cinnamon brown sugar flavor only. Allow 2-3 weeks for delivery. If it never shows up….then you're healthier for it.

  14. Can you do one of these on “panini”? I’m interested to know how he went from organic creator to popular artist and did it again.

  15. That's how it happened! Thanks. Here's another old Town road guitar lesson. The shortest

  16. As an old rock n' roller I have to admit that this song wasn't my cup of tea when I first heard it. Now that I have listened to it several times and seen all of the back-stories to it how can you not appreciate it for what it is? To think of a kid chasing his dream and hitting it out of the park like this. Lil Nas X breaking down barriers and entertaining folks at the same time. Love it.

  17. Love it! A tribute from your lil biggest fan:

  18. Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter. – Isaiah 5:20


  20. So it remained removed from the country chart?!? It never was put back once it became a bigger hit and once Billy Ray was on the track?

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