Lil Nas X’s ‘Old Town Road’ sets record for longest run at No 1
The much remixed song’s popularity is being driven by a social video app
Boston — Old Town Road, the genre-bending hip-hop/country smash by Lil Nas X, set a record on Monday with its 17th straight week atop the Billboard Hot 100 chart.
The much-remixed song, whose most popular version features Billy Ray Cyrus, has been No 1 since early April. The social video app TikTok drove much of that popularity as fans posted clip after clip after clip of their own takes on the tune.
Like one of the hits it supplanted in the record books, 2017’s Despacito by Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee featuring Justin Bieber, Old Town Road has far fewer listens of its original 2018 version than of its remixes. All four official remixes, including artists such as rapper Young Thug, yodeler Mason Ramsey and South Korean hip-hop star RM, contribute to the song’s chart position.
Old Town Road was the subject of a music-industry controversy when Billboard initially placed it on the Hot Country chart, only to remove it for what it said were insufficient country elements. Coming after the Recording Academy kept Beyoncé’s countrified Daddy Lessons out of country competition at the Grammy Awards, the episode raised further questions about the intersection of genre and race.
Billboard compiles its charts based on a combination of radio airplay, purchases and listens on streaming services, with paid streaming weighted more heavily than ad-supported services.