Lil Nas X’s “Old Town Road” has broken yet another Billboard record, this time as the longest-running number one single by a queer artist in Hot 100 history.
The genre-mashing hit single this week supplanted Elton John’s “Candle in the Wind 1997,” which had held the record at 14 weeks. “Old Town Road” is now in its 15th week at the number one spot.
It is also the longest-running number one single in hip-hop, and is closing in on being the longest-running number one single of all time across all genres. The 16-week record is jointly held by Luis Fonsi, Daddy Yankee, and Justin Bieber with “Despacito,” and Mariah Carey and Boyz II Men with “One Sweet Day.”
The 20-year-old’s success with a crossover rap and country song as an openly gay artist has made his sudden but sustained popularity even more notable.
Lil Nas X told the BBC he had received backlash for coming out, adding that being gay “within the country and the hip-hop communities” is “not really accepted.”
Billboard itself notes the importance of the cultural moment, in a piece by Stephen Daw:
Progress is a slow march forward in any area, with missteps inevitably setting the culture back before it can continue on. Yet to see a young gay artist like Lil Nas X dominate the charts in the way that he has is a signal to queer youth everywhere that change isn’t just coming—it’s happening right now.
Daw also draws a parallel between the song’s genre-based fluidity, and the tendency of younger people to eschew traditional labels for “more mercurial identifiers.”
Meanwhile, always one to capitalize on trends, Lil Nas X released a new animated video on Tuesday for the track, featuring a storyline based on the Facebook event where over a million people have said they will join in a raid of Area 51.