Meaning of Old Town Road by Lil Nas X & Song Story

We live in an amazing time that opens up opportunities for ordinary people that seemed fantastic just recently. The history of the song Old Town Road is a convincing example of this.

A Dutch teenager takes a sample based on a song from a super-popular rock band and puts it online. There, this bit is found by yesterday’s schoolboy, who decided that he could become a hip-hop star. He composes a musical composition, mixing seemingly incompatible genres: rap and country. Then he starts to promote his creation on the social network TikTok, creating memes.

What is the result? The song becomes a mega hit, is released as a single on the legendary label, tops dozens of charts, breaks all sorts of records, receives many awards and brings the author fees that he was afraid to even dream of.

Old Town Road – Lil Nas X Song Story

After graduating from high school, Montero Lamar Hill took up music. He settled with his sister so as not to return to his parents, who did not believe in the successful future of his son on the path of hip-hop. That’s where the song was born.

Let’s listen to the author:

Initially, she was in the spirit of a lone cowboy. Like an escape from everything. At the end of October, I found a beat on YouTube, and at the beginning of December I released a song.

The beat was composed by a guy from the Netherlands named Kiowa Roukema, better known under the pseudonym YoungKio. It was based on the banjo part from Nine Inch Nails’ 34 Ghosts IV, which is why Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross were subsequently credited as co-writers of Old Town Road.

Lil Nas X said:

I found the beat on YouTube. I haven’t even met Kio… I still haven’t seen him face to face. We met on Instagram because he saw the song in the meme and found me. That’s how we met.

Lil Nas X didn’t realize that YoungKio’s beat was sampled from NIN’s song. Later he said:

When I finally figured it out, I thought, “Wow, this is rock, country and hip-hop all rolled into one.” I’m a Nine Inch Nails fan, but I wouldn’t call myself a hardcore fan. I know their biggest hits, like that. I know Closer, I know Hurt.

The meaning of the song Old Town Road – Lil Nas X

Critics argue that the words of the composition romanticize the way of life of a cowboy. Say, down with consumerism, excesses and idleness. Better to ride alone on the road.

Lil Nas X reveals what Old Town Road is really about:

Of course it was meant to be a serious country-influenced song… Later I changed the meaning of Old Town Road from a runaway story to an old town road as a symbol of the path to success when you just stick to it. The horse and me, who doesn’t have to work hard, but I still get where I need to go. Like, “I’ll guide the horse down the old town road.”

In the first verse, you pack your things and get ready to go. In the second verse, you are already on the road, where everything is in order for you. In the chorus, the line “No one can tell me” is a kind of taunt about my parents. They didn’t want me to write music and they were going to send me back to school.

I felt like a lonely cowboy. I wanted to steer my horse along the old city road and ride away. The horse is like a machine. The old city road is like a path to success.

The New York Times

A line-by-line analysis of the Old Town Road song is presented below.

Release and achievements

First, Lil Nas X posted the track online:

I released the song just a few hours after I completed the work in the studio. I couldn’t wait to imagine her. I started promoting it through my Twitter account with memes. So I acted for a couple of months, and then it was picked up on TikTok. After that, I no longer had to do much, because she quickly went up.

At that time, the musician was not signed by more than one label. When the track went viral, radio stations began to play it. To do this, they had to take a song from YouTube. Then several major record companies joined the fight for Lil Nas X. As a result, he signed a contract with Columbia Records.

The single Old Country Road was released on December 3, 2018. It was first promoted on the country music charts, where it was easier to climb high than on the rap charts. The song debuted at number nineteen on the Billboard Hot Country Songs but was disqualified. According to the editors of the magazine, it did not fit the genre. This decision was condemned by many famous musicians. Some even accused Billboard of racism.

Lil Nas X commented on the situation:

I have a couple of country songs. I’m not going to lie and say that I’m a huge country fan, but I respect this genre, because I respect all musical genres …

Before it was removed from the country charts, I was already glad that I made it to Billboard at all. Even after that, I was like, “OK, at least I’m still on Billboard.” Then I started thinking and I thought, “Why?” After listening to other songs in this hit parade, I could not understand: “Wait a minute, something is wrong here.”

Then I was stunned by the support of country music stars, because this is their path. This means that you are respected by people who have been doing this for a long time.

On April 5, 2019, the first Old County Road remix was released, featuring Billie Ray Cyrus. A few days later, the track topped the Billboard Hot 100. It also rose to the top of the charts in many other countries.

The song stayed at the top of the Hot 100 for nineteen weeks, from April 13 to August 17, 2019. This is an absolute record for this hit parade. The song Bad Guy by Billie Eilish succeeded in displacing Old Town Road.

The composition was nominated in numerous categories at various festivals. Here are some of the prestigious Old Town Road awards:

  • “Song of the Year” – MTV Video Music Awards,
  • Best Director – MTV Video Music Awards,
  • “Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group” – Grammy Awards,
  • Best Music Video – Grammy Awards
  • Favorite Rap Song – American Music Awards
  • Song of the Year – Apple Music Awards.

For a complete list of composition achievements, see Wikipedia.

Old Town Road – Lil Nas X

The first music video for the song was released to the public on December 2, 2018. It is made up of cuts from the video game Red Dead Redemption.

The next video clip of Old Town Road was published on April 9, 2019. It was filmed for the remix of the song.

The official music video for Old Town Road Lil Nas X was released on May 17, 2019. The video also stars Billie Ray Cyrus and Chris Rock.

Interesting Facts

  • Country and hip-hop were mixed long before Lil Nas X. For example, a similar technique was often used by rapper Nelly.
  • Previously, a song that became popular thanks to memes has already risen to first place on the Hot 100. In 2013, the hit parade was headed by the track Harlem Shake – Baauer.

Old Town Road Lyrics

Yeah, I’m gonna take my horse to the old town road
I’m gonna ride ’til I can’t no more
I’m gonna take my horse to the old town road
I’m gonna ride ’til I can’t no more (Kio, Kio)

I got the horses in the back
Horse tack is attached
hat is matte black
Got the boots that’s black to match
Ridin’ on a horse, ha
You can whip your Porsche
I’ve been in the valley
You ain’t been up off that porch, now

Can’t nobody tell me nothin’
You can’t tell me nothin’
Can’t nobody tell me nothin’
You can’t tell me nothin’

Ridin’ on a tractor
Lean all in my bladder
Cheated on my baby
You can go and ask her
My life is a movie
Bull ridin’ and boobies
Cowboy hat from Gucci
Wrangler on my boots


Version 1

Credit: Atticus Ross / Kiowa Roukema / Montero Lamar Hill / Trent Reznor
Lyrics to Old Town Road, © Universal Music Publishing Group, Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

  • The old road and the horse as an obsolete mode of transport symbolize the former way of life of the musician.
  • This is a nod to YoungKio.
  • This verse is the beginning of Lil Nas X’s path to glory.
  • In westerns, black hats are worn by the bad guys.
  • The rapper hints that he achieved everything himself, without financial support from the outside.
  • It’s about Lil Nas X’s complex relationships with parents and other people.
  • This is an appeal to all who did not believe in him.
  • The last verse tells about the musician’s new life.
  • It is a narcotic drink based on cough syrup.
  • Lil Nas X came up with this line while watching the movie Dallas Buyers’ Club.
  • Gucci didn’t have a cowboy hat in their collections.
  • Famous denim brand.
  • Song Quotes

    I wanted to write a less serious song as an exception. Hope you all enjoy it.

    lil nas x youtube

    This song changed my life and view of the world in just a year.

    lil nas x

    At first it seemed strange to me, but I thought he did a good job.

    Trent Reznor

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