Atlanta rapper-singer Lil Nas X is the new sheriff of the Billboard Hot 100.
His ubiquitous ditty, “Old Town Road,” is now the longest-running No. 1 song in the 60-year history of the chart.
On Monday, “Old Town Road” notched its 17th week perched at the top – one week longer than previous record holders “Despacito” (Luis Fonsi with Daddy Yankee and Justin Bieber) and “One Sweet Day” (Mariah Carey and Boyz II Men).
The longevity of the song is primarily attributed to Billboard’s chart rule that original versions and remixes are considered a single listing when calculating the metrics of a Hot 100 title.
After the brouhaha that followed the initial release of “Old Town Road” – is it rap? Is it country? – Lil Nas X recruited country veteran Billy Ray Cyrus for the first remix, which is what propelled it to the No. 1 slot on the overall Hot 100.
In recent weeks, Lil Nas X strategically dropped different versions of the same song – with fellow Atlanta rapper Young Thug, 12-year-old yodeler Mason Ramsey, and last week, to essentially assure it would break the record, with RM of BTS, dubbed the “Seoul Town Road Remix.”
It's been an eventful year for the 20-year-old fledgling artist born Montero Lamar Hill. As he recently acknowledged in an Instagram post, it wasn't that long ago that he was sleeping on his sister's floor in Atlanta with no money and few musical prospects. Since then, Lil Nas X's song has captured international attention, he released a solo EP and, on the last day of World Pride Month, announced that he is gay.
He returned to social media on Monday with a heartfelt expression of gratitude to those who helped him achieve the milestone.
Melissa Ruggieri has covered music and entertainment for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution since 2010 and created the Atlanta Music Scene blog. She's kept vampire hours for more than two decades and remembers when MTV was awesome.