It's been a year since Lil Nas X pulled off the impossible.
Throughout the summer of 2019, the music newcomer and his genre-bending debut single "Old Town Road" proved to be inescapable. The earworm of a track, with its unique country-trap sound, had made a quick star of its creator, first going viral thanks to TikTok before hitting No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in the middle of April, where it stayed. And stayed. And stayed.
By the end of July, it was clear the track had the sort of ineffable alchemy that most artists only dream of, destined to do what no other song had done in more than a decade: Unseat Mariah Carey and Boyz II Men's "One Sweet Day" as the longest-running No. 1 single in history. Only one other had ever come close, with "Despacito," by Luis Fonsi, Daddy Yankee and Justin Bieber, tying the 16-week run in 2017. (Fun fact: That track was thwarted from making history by Taylor Swift's "Look What You Made Me Do.")
And on July 29, 2019, it happened. The track entered into its 17th week atop the chart, earning its well-deserved inclusion in music's history books.
While tweeting a photo of herself literally passing the torch to the rising star, Carey graciously congratulated Lil Nas X on his success. "Sending love & congrats to @LilNasX on breaking one of the longest running records in music history!" she wrote. "We've been blessed to hold this record with a song that means a great deal to @BoyzIIMen and myself and has touched so many. Keep living your best life! ❤."
Over on Instagram, Lil Nas X reflected on the historic moment, as well as the journey that brought him there. "Last year in October, as a struggling artist starting to lose faith in what I could be, I went looking for beats on YouTube. I remember clicking on so many generic-sounding beats trying to find the right one for me. When suddenly I came across a country-trap sounding masterpiece. I immediately knew I would make something special out of it," he wrote. "On December 2️nd, I went into the studio and recorded 'OLD TOWN ROAD' and put it out the exact same day!! Did I know it would become the longest running number 1 song of all time? NO!!! But I am so thankful that this blessing has been placed upon me. This song has changed my life and the way I see the world around me in less than a year. Thank you to every single person who has been a part of this journey. As I said before, it's just the beginning!"
He meant it.
He'd already made history a month prior when, while the song was still riding strong at the top of the charts, he came out of the closet, making him the only artist to ever do that while having a No. 1 record. "Old Town Road" would go on to spend a total 19 weeks at No. 1 before being dethroned by Billie Eilish's "Bad Guy." Follow-up single "Panini," also featured on debut EP 7, would peak at No. 5.
And then came the accolades.
First, there were eight MTV Video Music Award nominations. He won two, including Song of the Year, making him the first LGBTQ artist to do so. His win for Musical Event of the Year at the 53rd Annual Country Music Association Awards made him the first only gay man to ever even be nominated, let alone the first LGBTQ artist to win.
And then, of course, came the Grammys.
Earning six nominations at this year's ceremony, including Best New Artist, Record of the Year and Album of the Year, he'd go on two win two: Best Pop Duo/Group Performance and Best Music Video. Not only that, but he also delivered one of the night's most thrilling performances, featuring guests from each of the many "Old Town Road" remixes, including Billy Ray Cyrus, BTS and Nas.
While there's no doubt that some of his plans for 2020 got derailed along with everyone else's thanks to the coronavirus pandemic, Lil Nas X did update fans earlier this month on the status of his debut album. "ALBUM'S ALMOST FINISHED BUT WORKING ON A MIXTAPE TOO," he tweeted, before asking producers to submit beats for the project via email.
As fans await whatever he's got next to see if he's got any more record-breaking in him, let's take a look at some of the more wild records in music history. Maybe there's some inspiration in here for his next steps.