Rapper Lil Nas X has taken the internet by storm, not just with his song, "Old Town Road," but with his hilarious tweets.
Lil Nas X rose to prominence this year with his hip-hop country fusion "Old Town Road," a song that has spawned fanaticism, controversy and of course memes. The 20-year-old rapper posted the song on SoundCloud on Dec. 3, 2018, and it took a while to reach the heights of internet fame.
First, the song spawned a Tik Tok sensation with the "Yeehaw Challenge," a phenomenon when users would dress up in the most elaborate cowboy costume they could for a 15-second video. That helped launch Lil Nas X's magnum opus onto the world stage, taking it to #83 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. It would also reach #19 on the Hot Country Songs chart, but that is where the controversy began.
Billboard removed "Old Town Road" from the country chart, telling Rolling Stone that the song "does not currently merit inclusion on Billboard's country charts." This sparked outrage from fans, who saw this as an act of racism.
However, in a strange twist of fate this turned fate in Lil Nas X's favor. Before long, his growing fan base was rallying behind the song, proclaiming it a country hit. Many pointed to a double standard between genre mashups, noting that Post Malone had begun as an acoustic guitar-playing singer songwriter before transitioning into hip-hop.
Finally, country music icon Billy Ray Cyrus came to the rescue, reaching out on Twitter to commend Lil Nas X on "Old Town Road." Cyrus collaborated with the rapper on a remix, adding a verse and singing the chorus. He even joined Lil Nas X for an elaborate music video that also features Chris Rock and rapper Vince Staples.
Lil Nas X is expected to release his debut EP this month, but in the mean time he has been enjoying his time as an internet sensation on Twitter, where it all started. Here is a look at the rapper's best tweets throughout this strange journey.
There are probably thousands of Lil Nas X's "Old Town Road" tweets to choose from, but the young rapper is nothing if not self-aware. He mocks himself constantly for his self-promotion and self-referential humor, making it a part of his online persona.
"Me and bro laughing about all the upcoming 'Old Town Road' tweets I'm about to create," he wrote alongside a photo of himself with a stuffed Elmo toy.
As popular as "Old Town Road" is, the demand is there for more original music to buoy Lil Nas X's burgeoning career. While he intends to deliver, the rapper is also fond of his country song, and he wants to keep reworking it. Back in April, he joked that the tracklist on his album might just be full of remixes.
"My debut album Old Town Roads is dropping soon," he wrote, featuring
1. old town road
2. old town road (billy ray cyrus remix)
3. old town road (bass boosted)
4. old town road (young thug remix)
5. old town road (interlude)
6. old town road (10 hour loop)
7. old town road (acapella)"
me when my label tells me i have to release songs other than new versions of old town road pic.twitter.com/9joAZRh9kB— nope (@LilNasX) May 25, 2019
In another tweet, Lil Nas X joked about how disappointed his record label would be if he continued working on this one song for the rest of his life. The rapper has been signed by Columbia Records, and will release his EP in digital and streaming format only.
When news broke that Billy Ray Cyrus was collaborating with Lil Nas X many fans joked about the unlikely team-up. Never one to ignore a popular meme, Lil Nas X noted jokes about the odd pairing, and chimed in when one became too real.
A fan tweeted an old photo of Cyrus with a long, exaggerated mullet. Playing on the song's chorus they wrote: "business in the front, horses in the back," and Lil Nas X revealed that the play on words had actually come up in the studio.
"Not even being funny he was showing me an another verse he had for old town road and these were the first lyrics," he tweeted.
Lil Nas X has become a sensation on stage as well as online now, although at first the transition seemed daunting to him. In April, he joked that he might simply do what he does best when he finally performed live.
"At my first concert I’m gonna sit on stage tweeting the whole night with 'Old Town Road' on loop in the background," he wrote.
Lil Nas X is well known for his outlandish, flash-fiction style tweets across various accounts. Last week, he posted one imagining a world in which he and several other figures from memes took over the world in the coming decades.
"The year is 2050, Stuart Little is president, the 10 year world war led by Shrek & Thanos has ended," he wrote. "'Old Town Road' has reached its 1,615th week at number one and Brother Nature has stopped global warming. The world is at peace."
Lil Nas X has a knack for self-promotion that would make any social media manager jealous. The rapper has gone to great pains to make sure people know he is the one who made "Old Town Road," popping up in some strange places online in the process. That includes the replies to a CNN tweet about health concerns over meat distribution.
"A group representing 12,000 physicians wants meat distributors to write on the packaging of their meat that goes out to grocery stores: This product 'may contain feces,'" read the unsettling tweet.
"[What the f—]!!!" replied a shocked Lil Nas X, adding: "I made 'Old Town Road [by the way]."
In spite of his outpouring of support on social media, Lil Nas X often jokes as if his followers are growing weary of his constant self-referential memes and posts. Ironically, he made a joke about that last month, posting a screen grab from Spongebob Squarepants in which Spongebob whispers to a dejected Patrick, who is dressed in cowboy clothes.
"My followers telling me to stop posting 'Old Town Road' related content," he wrote.
why is this video of a sea of elementary school kids going HAM to old town road literally the funniest video i’ve ever seen in my whole life pic.twitter.com/iXItFq50QG— ari ➑ (@wasteIandbaby) May 30, 2019
Finally, while social media may be his rightful home, it is also the best place to see the wide-reaching impact of Lil Nas X and "Old Town Road." The rapper has created a delightful sensation for all ages, including the elementary school students who got a private concert from him in their gymnasium recently.
Lil Nas X retweeted the video from a fan without comment, but it is clear that he is enjoying himself on stage. The rapper is garbed in country finery with a youthful twist, including the emoji patch on his tassled denim jacket and the cross-shaped earring dangling from one ear.
Lil Nas X's debut EP, as yet untitled, is expected some time this month on digital and streaming platforms.