The rapper that blew the charts with his single ”Old Town Road” has landed in hot water just as he makes waves in the music world and the culture. The 20-year-old rapper was born on April 9 in 1999 as Montero Lamar Hill, hailing from Atlanta, Georgia. He moved around a lot throughout his childhood, but remaining within the state and playing around with rap.
His famous moniker was developed out of playfulness, as the rapper says he started out joking around rapping and didn’t take it seriously. The name stuck, but as his career took off, he wanted a name that would carry his status when he became a legend – so he added the X after a few years.
He Claimed the Top Spot on the Billboard Hot 100
The rap star has already built his net worth to a cool $2 million, but he may have to pay more than $25 million if the court sides with a publisher from Culver City that claims the song “Carry On” may infringe upon the rights of a different song with the same name. These claims come after the song topped the charts for several weeks in a row, keeping Taylor Swift from getting to the #1 spot, and raked in more than 4 million views on YouTube.
The song, by Bobby Caldwell, was released in 1982 and is also called “Carry On”. In the complaint made, The Music Force LLC states that Lil Nas X used various aspects of the song without getting permission from the publisher, using it to gain revenue and claiming that the rap star and his producers had “malicious intent”. His record label, Sony Music, has also been named in the suit and may face the consequences of failing to properly vet the rapper’s music before releasing it.
The lawsuit alleges that Sony Music didn’t take any actions to stop the unauthorized use of other’s music, infringing upon their rights as they enjoy the millions in revenue that they receive from their artists. The plaintiff has appealed to the court for $25 million in damages – $10 million and then an additional $15 million for punitive damages due to increased confusion that may occur in the market as the song carries the name of their own.
According to the company, Lil Nas X has made the value of the original song by Caldwell decrease, which is why they request payment for punitive damages as well. However, the court will have to decide how this case goes as the rapper awaits news on what will happen in his career next.
Lil Nas X Isn’t Slowing Down
Until then, his single “Old Town Road” shows no signs of slowing down and remixes are continuously being made. It made history when it threatened to break the record for the longest number of weeks at #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. The rapper knows how to keep the momentum going, releasing a remix of the song featuring the popular K-pop group known as BTS.
The song quickly spread, gaining more than 2 million views in a matter of hours. The remix, titled “Seoul Town Road” instantly started trending on Twitter and may have solidified his spot in the top for the 17th week in a row. Only two other artists have gotten this far – “One Sweet Day” by Mariah Carey and Boyz II Men and “Despacito” by Luis Fonsi featuring Justin Bieber and Daddy Yankee.
An LGBTQ Icon for the Culture
The rapper has made waves, catching the attention of Lil Wayne. The veteran gave him some valuable advice, encouraging Lil Nas X to continue to go for the top and break his own records instead of focusing on fame. He has made his mark, becoming an LGBTQ icon when he came out as gay during pride month in June of 2019. This reveals made “Old Town Road” the longest hit song by a queer artist in the 61-year history of the Billboard Hot 100.
He sees his success as w in for the LGBTQ community and other artists in the music industry that refuse to be put into a box and fit into a certain narrative. He says that his focus remains on creating an open space and giving the opportunity to diverse artists in country and hip-hop – two genres of music that have notoriously shunned the LGBTQ community.
In the wake of his lawsuit, the rapper continues to hold onto his values and make hits that spread like fire. Only time will tell how far his career goes and what effects the lawsuit will have on his career.