Lil Nas X: A Case Study for Musicians.
Seeing as Lil Nas X's "Old Town Road" recently passed "Macarena" as the longest-running no. 1 debut single ever, I thought a case study was in order. You may find this unthinkable now: Lil Nas X was a completely unknown artist just six months ago. Then known only by his real name Montero Hill, Lil Nas X was crashing on his sister's couch while making music and posting it online. His DIY music video for "Old Town Road" ignited an incessant meme-storm on TikTok and the rest, as they say, is history. Here are three things up and coming musicians should take away from Lil Nas X's astronomical rise.
1. MemeMania X
Promoting your music is everything, and social media is the best place to do it for sure. Memes are often overlooked as promotional tools because their generally comedic undertones don't lend themselves to anything serious. However, memes are still significant statements in today's day and age; often, they have the power to redirect traffic toward or away from something or someone. In the case of Lil Nas X, his music video—made up entirely of video game footage—had just the right tune to accompany visuals that would connect with a broad audience, one keen on sharing.
2. Propitious Political Winds
Lil Nas X's ingenious hip-hop/country crossover emerged at the perfect time when there are serious racial division issues that warrant the type of unity he suggests. A young, charismatic, African-American taking a genre often void of his kind and milking it for all it's worth? Why not? The move by Lil Nas X pushes for unity and acceptance and blurs the lines of music history to create beautiful and lasting art. Songs should indeed come from the heart, but a glance at the world's political climate can always help add some relevancy.
3. Tenacious Determination
One could call Lil Nas X's hit pure luck, but they would be wrong. Lil Nas X is still on overdrive; he has released yet another music video for "Old Town Road" and his long-anticipated EP 7. Besides being extremely active on social media and performing live, the rapper is always brewing creative ideas to remain relevant. His tenacious determination was already part of his genetic makeup long before Billy Ray Cyrus sang the chorus to his song.
Already you can find music videos from hip-hop artists looking to join the movement that Lil Nas X is leading. For young musicians coming up the ranks, the perfect storm created by Lil Nas X should serve as motivation. Check out the new video for "Old Town Road" here.