On “Old Town Road,” Lil Nas X romanticizes the life of a cowboy. The character is unfulfilled by a hedonistic life of consumerism, substance abuse, and adultery. He also has dissatisfaction with the indolence of his peers, feeling no need to heed their advice. With nothing left to believe in or follow, the rider heads out with the only destination being the open road.
“Old Town Road” grew in popularity through numerous TikTok memes. Similarly to how the Atlanta duo iLOVEFRiDAY’s hit song “Mia Khalifa” blew up, clips on TikTok with the hashtag #oldtownroad have garnered millions of views.
After the song was removed from Billboard’s Country charts for “not (embracing) enough elements of today’s country music to chart in its current version,” Lil Nas X released a remix of his song with Billy Ray Cyrus to spite the company. The original eventually reached the number 1 spot on the Billboard Hot 100 on April 8, 2019.