"Old Town Road" is a song by American rapper Lil Nas X, first released independently in December 2018. After gaining popularity, the single was re-released by Columbia Records in March 2019. Lil Nas X also recorded a remix with American country singer Billy Ray Cyrus, which was released on April 5, 2019. Both were included on Lil Nas X's first EP, 7 (2019). The song has been widely labeled as "country rap", a genre that had not often reached the mainstream prior to its release. Dutch record producer YoungKio composed the instrumental and made it available for purchase online in 2018. It features a sample of "34 Ghosts IV" by the American industrial rock band Nine Inch Nails. The sample was placed behind trap-style Roland TR-808 drums and bass. Lil Nas X purchased the instrumental for US$30 and recorded "Old Town Road" in one day. At the time, he had been living with his sister after dropping out of college; his real world struggles were an influence on some of the lyrics. The song initially gained popularity on the social video sharing app TikTok and eventually entered the Billboard charts in March 2019. The song reached number 19 on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart before the magazine disqualified it from the chart on the grounds that it did not fit the genre, sparking a debate on the definition of country music. Though it was not re-entered onto the overall country charts, both versions of the song collectively peaked at number one on the general Billboard Hot 100, for a record-breaking nineteen consecutive weeks. One or more versions of "Old Town Road" have topped the national singles charts in Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Ireland, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Switzerland and the United Kingdom, and have charted in the top 10 in various other markets. The song was awarded diamond certification by the RIAA in October 2019, for selling ten million total units in the United States, the fastest song to be awarded diamond certification. At the 62nd Annual Grammy Awards, the remix featuring Billy Ray Cyrus was nominated for Record of the Year and won Best Pop Duo/Group Performance and Best Music Video. In October 2019, Nas X's label Columbia Records/Sony Music Entertainment, won the Music & Sound Recordings Award from SAG-AFTRA "for work that exemplifies equal access" of LGBTQ and "other misrepresented or underrepresented groups." In January 2021, the song set a record as the highest certified song ever by the RIAA with 14-times platinum status in the United States, meaning it accumulated 14 million in equivalent song units. It has sold over 18 million records worldwide, making it one of the best-selling singles of all time.
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