From beginning to end, each version of Lil Nas X's "Old Town Road" was wrapped up in memes. Starting with the Yeehaw Challenge on TikTok and eventually finding itself the stuff of hyperbolic jokes about overwhelming numbers of remixes, the crossover hit dominated the Billboard Hot 100 in the spring and summer of 2019. Listeners even fancast who they wanted to be featured in future remixes, from Guy Fieri to Dolly Parton. With Lil Nas X retweeting even some of the wildest jokes and suggestions, it seemed like there might be no end to "Old Town Road" remixes, but the version featuring South Korean rapper RM in late July was declared by Lil Nas X to be the "last one."
It may not have reached its record-holding number one status if the excitement over it being disqualified from the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart hadn't brought it to wider attention and begun the cycle of remixes that started with Billy Ray Cyrus and ended with BTS. Out of all five - the original version and the four official remixes - which versions of "Old Town Road" are the best?
OTR Featuring Billy Ray Cyrus
The first official remix, featuring Billy Ray Cyrus, worked to cement the song's classification as a country. Cyrus himself has encountered the gatekeeping that can happen with the country music genre, with his own crossover Billboard hit "Achy Breaky Heart" once considered frivolous and an unworthy addition to the genre.
144Does this remix ride hard?
- Artist: Lil Nas X featuring Billy Ray Cyrus
- Date Recorded: April 5, 2019
Lil Nas X & Billy Ray Cyrus Featuring Young Thug & Mason Ramsey
Retaining Billy Ray Cyrus' guest appearance, but adding American rapper Young Thug and American singer Mason Ramsey (once known as "Walmart Yodel Boy"), this remix was released in an effort to keep "Old Town Road" at number one on the Billboard Hot 100 long enough to tie the record held by "One Sweet Day" by Mariah Carey and Boyz II Men and "Despacito" by Luis Fonsi featuring Daddy Yankee. Only a few days after it the lyric video was released, an animated video referencing the Storm Area 51 meme was uploaded, continuing the song's relationship with meme culture.
168Does this remix ride hard?
- Artist: Lil Nas X featuring Billy Ray Cyrus, Young Thug and Mason Ramsey
- Date Recorded: July 12, 2019
Old Town Road (Diplo Remix)
Retaining the vocals from Billy Ray Cyrus, this remix premiered at Diplo's set for the country music Stagecoach Festival and featured additional production by Diplo - who, as Thomas Wesley, had recently created country music himself.
105Does this remix ride hard?
- Artist: Lil Nas X featuring Billy Ray Cyrus, Diplo
- Date Recorded: April 29, 2019
Old Town Road
Although the original version of the song is no longer on Lil Nas X's YouTube, it was this version - which seems almost bare and stripped down after so many remixes - that became the theme song of the Yeehaw Agenda and swept TikTok with a wave of memes that it lead it to debut at 83 on the Billboard Hot 100 before rising to the top of the charts.
105Does this remix ride hard?
- Artist: Lil Nas X
- Date Recorded: December 3, 2018