The musician deliberately sought popularity with memes.
Lil nas x @lilnasx
The debut track of American rapper Lil Nas X (real name — Montero Hill) “ Old Town Road ” hit the top spot on the Billboard Top 100 chart. Previously, the publication excluded the song from the country chart, as it considered it “not enough country”. After that, the rapper was supported by Billy Ray Cyrus and released a remix of his track.
At the beginning of April, “Old Town Road” gained popularity when the #yeehaw Challenge appeared on the platform for loading short videos TikTok , where users of the service under Hill’s track “reincarnate” into cowboys.
Rap inspired by Red Dead Redemption
The release of the “cowboy” country-trap track of a nineteen-year-old rapper from Atlanta took place on December 3, 2018 – after the release of Red Dead Redemption 2, which at that time was one of the most popular video games.
In the “clip” Hill uses cutting gameplay from the game. In the lyrics, typical rapper themes – Porsche, drugs and sex – are combined with country motifs – cowboys, horses, the old steppe road.
Yes, I will ride my horse along the old city road. I will go until I can no longer. My horses gallop from behind, horse drawn, black matt hat and black boots in tone.from the text of “Old Town Road”
On March 22, the rapper signed a contact with the label Columbia Records, and soon his only track hit the three Billboard charts – common, with country music and hip-hop.
On March 28, March, Billboard deleted Hill’s track from the country music chart because he thought that “the song, although it includes references to country music and cowboys, there are not enough elements of modern country music in it”. The rapper did not agree with the opinion of the publication and noted that “country is developing.” But “Old Town Road” was never returned to the chart .
On April 5, one of the main country singers in the United States, Miley Cyrus’s father, Billy Ray Cyrus, supported Hill on Twitter and said that he was also “thrown out of the charts”, and the next day he released a remix of “Old Town Road”.
Popularity in TikTok
Hill said he poured “Old Town Road” into TikTok for free use: “I promoted the song like a meme for several months until it was noticed at TikTok and it became much more popular. The rapper said that he does not make money on the platform: “I guess I have to pay the service. They really helped with the promotion. ”
TikTok users have already published thousands of videos with the #yeehaw tag . In the video, the characters drink a drink that turns them into cowboys, and in the background plays “Old Town Road”.
The rapper already had experience in creating viral content. Hill said that he had previously led a “meme account on Twitter” that “helped him understand what the audience wants.”
In The Verge noted that the success of “Old Town Road” proves that TikTok is a new platform through which musicians can find their audience. Users use the service to find something new, and not just spend time watching memes, journalists say.
Hill is not the first musician who gained fame thanks to the platform. In early February, the song “Sweet But Psycho” by the singer Ava Max got into first place on the Billboard dance music chart after TikTok users used her track “Not Your Barbie Girl” in commercials. Absofacto songs “ Dissolve ” and Joji “ Slow Dancing in the Dark ” also became popular on the platform.