Unsurprisingly, rapper Lil Nas X has a pretty hilarious social media presence. A recent Tweet of his was no exception: “it’s crazy how any baby born after march has not lived in a world where old town road wasn’t number 1.”
The song is arguably 2019’s encapsulation of pop culture, and has had an impact previously unseen by Billboard: it’s the longest-reigning chart topper in the Hot 100’s 61-year history. Preserving its prestigious title for over 18 weeks now, the rural rap single has beat out the 1995 Mariah Carey/Boyz II Men jam “One Sweet Day” and the club hit “Despacito.” It’s also prevented the likes of Billie Eilish, Taylor Swift, Ed Sheeran, Post Malone and more from achieving an expected #1 ranking.
Play “Old Town Road” anywhere. Somehow, it fits the ambiance instantly, causing people to perk up as soon as the twangy chorus hits.
“Old Town Road” makes itself known as the anthem of sporting events, bars and dance clubs, and even as a mainstay playing over the speakers of marijuana dispensaries. I can personally say that it makes having to wait in line all the more worthwhile.
Which is what makes this new tidbit of information rather surprising: Billy Ray Cyrus didn’t exactly have the most creative freedom in his verse for the first remix when he wanted to give a little weed shoutout (Lil Nas X has since collaborated with Diplo, Yung Thug and Mason Ramsey, and he’s looking to get takes from Mariah Carey and Dolly Parton next.)
Cyrus told Taste of Country in a recent interview that a line he wrote (on the spot, we might add) referencing marijuana was cut instantly. Columbia Records had reached out to him about the verse on March 14. He heard the song and, like the rest of us, immediately loved it. A self-described “spontaneous” guy, he went to the studio that same day to record.
Collaborating with songwriter Jocelyn Donald, known as “Jozzy,” Cyrus says they “batted around a few ideas” and had the verse ready within 8-10 minutes.
“I had on a ball cap it was down low, and she said, ‘Well, hat down and you drove across town.’ She said, ‘You looked like a rockstar,’ so I’m just looking for rhyme words, and I was sitting there holding my guitar, just like so,” he began.
“For some reason, I immediately thought it was funny to say, ‘Baby’s got a habit: diamond rings and marijuana.’ They said, ‘Everything but the marijuana.’ And [Jozzy] said, ‘How about Fendi sports bra?’ I thought, ‘Well, it’s probably good because I don’t know what that is.’”
Check out the full interview below:
It’s interesting censorship for a song that also has a verse about “ridin’ on my tractor / lean all in my bladder,” but perhaps another single will be released with the original lyrics. Meanwhile, a remix by Lil Snoop X called “Old Town Weed” lives on.