Lil Nas X’s smash hit “Old Town Road” may not be riding quite as high on the charts any longer, but it isn’t done making history. The country-trap bop had an impressive chart run as the longest running No. 1 song ever in music history.
In a surprising turn of events, the 20-year-old rapper’s song has now been nominated for a Country Music Association Award at the upcoming 53rd annual CMA Awards. It’s a record achievement for Lil Nas as an openly queer Black artist.
The organization announced the nominees on Twitter yesterday. Lil Nas took to social media to celebrate the surprising news.
“Thank you guys for this nomination!!” he wrote.
Interestingly, the record-breaking song isn’t up for any awards that recognizes its musical merit. Lil Nas will compete against big names such as Garth Brooks and Maren Morris in the “Musical Event Of The Year” category.
Nonetheless, it’s a full circle moment considering that when the Atlanta native first released the original version of the song on SoundCloud last December, Billboard controversially removed the song off of its country chart after deeming it not country enough.
“Old Town Road” had shot up Billboard’s Hot 100, Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs and Hot Country Songs charts simultaneously. The act sparked a wave of backlash that many decried as a racially motivated gate-keeping tactic. It opened up a national debate about racial discrimination and historical whitewashing in the country music industry.
Fortunately, things worked out in Lil Nas’ favor as the attention helped propel his remixed version with Billy Ray Cyrus and consequent album up the charts. “Old Town Road” would go on to spend a historical 19 weeks on the charts before bowing out of the race last week after Billie Eilish’s “Bad Guy” overtook it.
As they say, the rest is history.
(Photo: Noam Galai/Getty Images)