Culture Clips: Lil Nas X is Music’s New Record-Setting Sheriff

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Lil Nas culture clips

The music industry has a new top dog: “Old Town Road.”

It took 24 years to beat “One Sweet Day” by Mariah Carey and Boyz II Men as the music industry’s longest-running pop chart-topping song. That ditty spent 16 straight weeks on the top of Billboard’s Hot 100 chart in 1995 and 1996. And while  Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee tied with Carey back in 2017 with “Despacito” (featuring Justin Bieber), it took Lil Nas X’s improbable viral hit to knock Mariah and the Boyz off the throne. Now, with its run at 17 weeks (and still counting), “Old Town Road” is officially “the longest-running No. 1 single ever,” according to CNN.

The song first became popular when Lil Nas X uploaded it to TikTok, the short-form video app, in February. According to Billboard, it then sparked “a meme in which creators drink ‘Yee Yee Juice’ [essentially a made-up drink that turns people into cowboys] and change into Western garb in time for the song’s drop.” Since then, it has been used as the background music for everything from backflips to baking. TikTok’s U.S. General Manager, Vanessa Pappas, even congratulated Lil Nas X saying:

It’s been incredible to watch “Old Town Road” grow from its start on TikTok in February—as the backbone of an accessible and engaging meme that generated millions of creations and billions of views—to a record-breaking smash hit that has all walks of life listening on repeat.

Two weeks ago on Culture Clips, we mentioned how creating content on smaller platforms such as TikTok can launch young people into careers on bigger ones, and Lil Nas X’s success is a perfect example. Another example of streaming success is the guy we talked about yesterday:  Kyle Giersdorf, aka Bugha, aka the 16-year-old who just won $3 million at the Fortnite World Cup this weekend. To put that into perspective, that’s more than what the champions of Wimbledon, the Indy 500, or the Tour de France win. And it’s only a fraction of the $30 million that was up for grabs in prizes.

Fortnite is largely popular due to the fact that it’s free to play. But more than that: It’s a form of social media, since players can speak to each other live during matches. Oh, and it’s an advertising platform, too. Slate reports that the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Netflix’s Stranger Things, and Nike’s Air Jordans have all partnered with the game to be included. In addition to advertisement revenue, the game is also powered by in-app purchases, which generated $3 billion in profits last year. Now that $30 million is starting to make a lot more sense.

The winner, Bugha, is apparently planning to spend his money “wisely,” according to USA Today. “I’m just going to save the money and invest it and not do anything dumb with it,” he told ESPN. “I want to get a new desk, that’s about it.” Bugha is a Twitch streamer and is represented by the esports organization Sentinels (yes, esport gamers have agents; They also have high school varsity teams), so there’s a good chance we’ll be hearing more from him in the future.

In addition to changing the lives of Bugha and other winners at the World Cup event, Fortnite  has also launched the careers of some of the most popular video-game streamers in the world, including Tyler “Ninja” Blevins. According to Fox News, Ninja “has more than 14 million followers on Twitch and over 22 million on YouTube and reportedly made $10 million last year.” Ninja didn’t qualify for the tournament, but remains a positive role model for the younger audiences who flock to his relatively-clean channel. In an interview with ESPN, Ninja explained his reasoning for creating more family-centric entertainment:

I never used to [think about how I portray myself on stream] because I didn’t really realize the impact that I have on a bunch of people or on kids…We just felt like it was 100 percent necessary to do the monitoring and parenting. Not necessarily parenting for them, just so these kids don’t grow up listening to someone swear every five seconds.

Knowing that some esport gamers are going out of their way to create wholesome content is refreshing to hear, especially since a study published by the Anti-Defamation League showed that “74 percent of adults who play games online have experienced some form of harassment.” The study doesn’t include minors in its findings, but another study by Full Screen showed that “more than half of Gen Z and millennials admit to daydreaming about life without social media.” The study also revealed that 83% acknowledged their moods were impacted by the number of likes, comments, and shares they receive and 54% believed that being constantly connected to their devices only worsened their mental well-being.

Studies like these are part of the reason that Oregon has signed a new bill allowing students to take “mental health days,” just as they would take a sick day if they were physically ill. They’re also the driving force behind Italy’s new bill proposal to treat “phone-addicted teenagers” as they would any other addict and send them to rehab.

Perhaps these new laws will help to curb the onslaught of online harassment and cyberbullying that young children and teens face on a daily basis, but in the meantime, Plugged In parents can check out “A Parent’s Guide to Today’s Technology” for combating the multitudes of social media and streaming available to their children.

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Anonymous 4 days ago

As everyone probably knows by now I love lists so here's my favorite 2 cd's of every year of the 2000s:

2000: O Brother Where Art Thou?, Caedmon's Call's Long Line of Leavers

2001: Elton John's Songs from the West Coast, Tool's Lateralus

2002: Wilco's Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, Johnny Cash's The Man Comes Around

2003: Caedmon's Call's Back Home, Derek Webb's She Must and Shall Go Free

2004: Derek Webb's I See Things Upside Down, U2's How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb

2005: Over the Rhine's Drunkard's Prayer, The Afters' I Wish We All Could Win

2006: Red's End of Silence, Dylan's Modern Times

2007: Iron & Wine's The Shepherd's Dog, Over the Rhine's The Trumpet Child

2008: R.E.M.--Accelerate, Miley Cyrus--Breakout

2009: Derek Webb's Stockholm Syndrome, Future of Forestry's Travel II

2010: Arcade Fire--The Suburbs, Future of Forestry--Travel III

2011: TV on the Radio--Nine Types of Light, Incubus--If Not Now, When?

2012: Fun--Some Nights, Train--California 37

2013: Miley Cyrus--Bangerz, Eminem--The Marshall Mathers LP 2

2014: Neil Young--A Letter Home, Foster the People--Supermodel

2015: Nate Ruess--The Grand Romantic, Owl City--Mobile Orchestra

2016: David Bowie--Blackstar, Elton John--Wonderful Crazy Night

2017: Skillet--Unleashed Beyond, U2--Songs of Experience

2018: Garth Brooks--Live Anthology, Crowder--I Know A Ghost

2019: Billy Ray Cyrus--The SnakeDoctor Circus

Anonymous 16 days ago
I love country music and am glad it's making a comeback. My favorite country artists of all time are Johnny Cash, Garth Brooks, and Billy Ray Cyrus, though I do also quite enjoy Alabama, George Strait, and Alan Jackson. I just can't stand people like Brooks & Dunn, Rascal Flatts, Lady Antebellum, or Lonestar, people that make loud rock and pop music masquerading as country nowadays.
Karl The Klown 16 days ago
Brantley Gilbert is pretty good as well 
Big Mike 15 days ago
my friend you have great musical taste 
The Kenosha Kid 15 days ago
@Karl The Klown and @Big Mike,

Oh fun, a musical discussion. How about you guys? Top 10 favorite musical acts?

-- The Kenosha Kid
Karl The Klown 15 days ago
1. Bob Dylan (easily the greatest musician who ever lived) 

*the rest are in no particular order*

Of Monsters and Men (their newest album is terrible though)

Kevin Gates (what can I say, I enjoy rap) 

Green Day (I like them even though they are a bunch of Commies) 

Blaze Foley (typical outlaw country singer)

The Yeah Yeah Yeahs (very, very early 00s. Similar to Green Day) 

Karen O (lead singer of the Yeahs, then solo act. Also did the soundtrack to Where The Wild Things Are)

Machine Gun Kelly (modern version of Eminem) 

Lord Huron (overall they aren't the best, but their album Lonesome Dreams is spectacular) 

Lil Durk (best Drill rapper alive. Chief Keef is close 2nd) 

Gregory Alan Isakov (Although all of his songs kinda sound the same, they are pretty relaxing. Nice to have playing while studying) 

I do also enjoy Bruce Springsteen, Jose Gonzalez, Young Thug, and the Lumineers. 

How bout you?

PS. I can answer Mike's for you. He only likes Johnny Cash. 
The Kenosha Kid 15 days ago
@Karl The Klown, oh man, you're making me feel old. But Bob Dylan -- couldn't agree more. 

Some of my favorites: Dylan, Beatles, Velvet Underground, Radiohead, My Bloody Valentine, The Clash, The Cure, Pixies, Wilco, D'Angelo, The Roots, Slayer, early Metallica, Prince, Bowie, R.E.M., Patti Smith, Black Sabbath, Sonic Youth, Neil Young, Talking Heads, Miles Davis, John Coltrane.

I've never heard of Kevin Gates but I'll check him out. To me, rap basically started with The Chronic/Doggystyle and ended with 2001. Like I said, I'm old.

-- The Kenosha Kid
Karl The Klown 15 days ago
Hahaha. Yeah, I grew up with my dad playing Dylan around the house, but it honestly wasn't until more recently that I really appreciated it. 


I listened to nothing but rap for the longest time. Thankfully my tastes have expanded. 
Yeah I get that about rap dying in '01 lol. Rap has gone to some weird places the past 5 years or so. Its all mumble now. No wordplay, no fast rapping, and its oftentimes not even catchy. 
I like Gates cuz he seems to be able to channel the more hardcore southern rap of the late 90s-early 00s, with modern beats and vocals. 
A$AP Ferg is another who does the same thing.


Anonymous 14 days ago
I'd have to say Derek Webb, Caedmon's Call, Elton John, Bob Dylan, Neil Young, Pink Floyd, The Beatles, R.E.M., Miley/Billy Ray Cyrus, Owl City, and U2 are my favorite musical acts of all time, though recently I've really gotten into David Bowie, For King & Country, and Skillet. Plus I adore Johnny Cash as well, especially his American Recordings, IV being my absolute favorite.
Anonymous 16 days ago
I wouldn't recommend Toy Story 4 to anyone unless they really really miss seeing BoPeep and want to see what she's been up to. She's by far the best thing about the entire movie. The rest of it is just plain dumb especially the annoying as heck Forky and creepy as all get out Vincent. It's right up there with Cars 3 and the very first Incredibles as the worst Pixar ever. Even lesser films like A Bug's Life or Monster's University are ten times more interesting than anything in Toy Story 4.
Hannah Cole 16 days ago
Everyone was saying how funny Forky was, but I don't remember laughing much at his parts, nor at the Bunny and Ducky duo. Strangely I didn't find the ventriloquist dolls very creepy, either. I do think The Incredibles is way, way above Toy Story 4. It was, pardon the pun, incredible! I'm glad Pixar won't be focusing on sequels in the coming years and will go back to making original movies.
Anonymous 16 days ago
Posted by First Comment Guy

While I’m also glad that Pixar is returning to what they do best (which is making original films), I will say that the one Pixar movie that deserves a sequel that hasn’t gotten one already is Inside Out. The ending of the film closed out the story, but it also left the door open for another film. Since Inside Out is my all time favorite movie, I would be incredibly happy if they made a sequel! But given how perfect the first movie is, I’d also be 100% ok if they didn’t make a sequel.
Hannah Cole 15 days ago
Oh that reminds me, I need to finally sit myself down one day and watch Inside Out. I've heard nothing but good things about it; can't believe I haven't seen it yet. 
Anonymous 16 days ago
I have no idea why country has been making such a big comeback recently....

(Then again, it is one of my least favorite genres of music.)

(Big Iron's pretty good, though.)

-Evan
Hannah Cole 17 days ago

I liked Toy Story 4. Sure, it wasn't as satisfying as the third one, but it was a good movie. I'm still on the fence about the ending. I get what it was going for, but it didn't quite make it there or give enough build up to make me think "yes, that makes total sense." I liked it better when I thought of it as an epilogue to the series. It isn't needed, but it's there if you want it.


It was just a fine movie and I'm not sorry I watched it. After all, even a "bad" Pixar movie is much better than the majority from other animation studios, lol.

Anonymous 16 days ago
Posted by First Comment Guy

I’m glad I didn’t pay money to see it then. If it’s not needed, they shouldn’t have made it.
Big Mike 17 days ago
toy story 4 is bad!

Anonymous 16 days ago
Posted by First Comment Guy

Is that what you actually think, or are you just testing to see if the moderators won’t let you post that comment?
Karl The Klown 16 days ago
He's just testing it. He hasn't seen the movie 
Big Mike 16 days ago
bingo Klown

Anonymous 17 days ago
I don't get why Plugged In won't let me say I hated Toy Story 4, really only loving the third one. I just don't get it.
Anonymous 17 days ago
Posted by First Comment Guy

They wouldn’t let me say that I’m not interested in seeing it either. It’s weird.
Anonymous 17 days ago
I'm a huge Billy Ray Cyrus fan but because it's not on any of his albums as far as I know I have yet to hear it, and I've got all his albums from Wanna Be Your Joe to this year's The Snake Doctor Circus.
Karl The Klown 17 days ago
Old Town Road is one of the most overrated songs in existence. It's popularity is baffling to me.
Then again, I catch myself humming it quite often........