Lil Nas X performs during the 2019 BET awards in Los Angeles, California. — AFP Photo
NEW YORK — The infectious country-trap smash Old Town Road has broken the record for longest reign over the US singles chart, Billboard announced on Monday, stretching its now historic pop music domination to 17 weeks.
The viral mega-hit that mashes banjo twangs with thumping bass from unknown artist-turned-industry maverick Lil Nas X broke the record of 16 weeks on the industry's most closely watched singles chart.
That was set by 1995's One Sweet Day by Mariah Carey and Boyz II Men's and matched by the 2017 Latin juggernaut Despacito by Luis Fonsi, Daddy Yankee and Justin Bieber.
"YEEE TF HAWWW," Lil Nas X tweeted after the news broke.
In its unprecedented 17th week on the Billboard Hot 100 Road notched 72.5 million US streams and 46,000 downloads sold. Its numbers again bested breakout pop star Billie Eilish, whose song "bad guy" has held the number two spot for seven total weeks.
After first grabbing attention on the video-sharing app TikTok, Lil Nas X, 20, soared into the public consciousness after his genre-bending hit booted Ariana Grande from the Billboard chart's overall spot in April, also fending off advances from pop royalty including Bieber and Taylor Swift.
Since then he has shrewdly goosed his numbers by releasing remix after remix of the snappy track, most notably with country star Billy Rae Cyrus, which is the one listed on the Billboard chart.
As long as remixes are in line with the original sound of a song, the streams, downloads and sales are included in one composite number.
Just last week Lil Nas X released yet another new version featuring a member of BTS, the wildly popular South Korean group.
Controversy stoked his rise to fame after Billboard removed the fusion novelty song from the country charts but left it on the rap list, triggering accusations that the Atlanta musician's work was pigeonholed purely because he is black. — AFP