Check out the gallery above to see how people reacted to Lil Nas X’s revelation about his song “Old Town Road.”
Rapper Lil Nas X’s country rap anthem “Old Town Road” is easily the most popular song in the United States so far in 2019. The song and its subsequent remix featuring Billy Ray Cyrus have also been at the top of the music charts in a combined 16 countries including China, France, Australia, and Portugal.
The song reads like a pretty standard country rap song with elements of both genres: simply stated rumination on life drama with lyrics like “cheated on my baby” and glorified drug use with lyrics like “lean all in my bladder.”
But, according to Lil Nas X, the first rapped lyrics of the song is about so much more.
“When I said ‘I got the horses in the back’ it was in reference to reversing the ongoing climate change, water pollution, and catastrophic political climate we are witnessing in these trying times,” the rapper wrote on Twitter on Saturday.
Okay, Lil Nas X, but how? Unfortunately, he didn’t give any other explanation. A few seconds later he followed his “Old Town Road” revelation by tweeting “poop,” so there’s that.
The tweet about his song lyric instantly went viral, amassing 84,878 retweets and 371,222 likes in less than a day, and has inspired fans of the song to try to interpret other lyrics as metaphors for environmental destruction and current events.
Some of the people responding were obviously joking, others were serious, and it’s too hard to figure out who was doing which, but here are some of the more interesting attempts at interpreting lyrics from the song.
One person wrote that Lil Nas X’s “hat is matte black” in the song “due to the air pollution.”
Further below in the responses to the rapper’s tweet, a trio of Twitter users said – likely as a joke – that the “hat is matte black” line is about the troubling future of “solar radiation management,” the “ridin’ on a tractor” line is about right to repair laws, and the “can’t nobody tell me nothin'” line is about how he doesn’t care about the backlash he’ll get for “exposing the evil truths they don’t want you to hear.”
Someone else had a different spin on the “can’t nobody tell me nothin’ line”: “And ‘can’t nobody tell me nothing’ is referring to the refusal to participate in a system of erasure of black voices with an emphasis in protecting black women and our black trans family.”
Some were highly skeptical of Lil Nas X’s interpretation of his own lyrics. One person who responded to this tweet said, “Watching you squeezing every drop of mileage out of this song has me dyin’ bro.”
And some said they knew all along that the song had a deeper meaning. “I already knew this, but some of y’all are slow af if [you] didn’t get that off top,” one person wrote.
One environmental group, the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, expressed happiness at the revelation. “Well in that case,” they said, “we’ve got the horses in the back too.”