It’s official. The meme heard around the world is now the number one song on Billboard‘s Hot 100 chart. Lil Nas X‘s “Old Town Road” has taken a long and unexpected road to the top since the 19-year-old first dubbed the song over shots from the video game Red Dead Redemption 2 and posted it to YouTube back in December.
The track first gained traction as a meme on the music-focused, short video sharing app TikTok. In countless videos uploaded to the platform, kids would dance to the country/trap banger and suddenly transform into cowboy versions of themselves as the song’s beat drops. In March, when the song debuted on both the Hot R&B/Hip Hop chart and the Hot Country Songs chart, this prompted Billboard to controversially remove it from the latter. After much discussion and a boost from none other than Billy Ray Cyrus, the song has climbed 14 spots to dethrone Arianna Grande’s “7 Rings” at the top of the charts.
As a result, Lil Nas X has now become the first artist unaccompanied by another act to top the Hot 100 list on a first attempt since Cardi B’s “Bodak Yellow” in the summer of 2017. According to Billboard, Lil Nas X is also the first male artist (in a leading role) to top the Hot 100 in a first visit since Desiigner took “Panda” to the top for two weeks in May 2016.