Lil Nas X made history on the charts with his country-trap hybrid hit “Old Town Road,” but that’s not the song he performed at the MTV Video Music Awards. Instead he jumped 60 years ahead for a futuristic performance of “Panini.” Watch his performance above, and check out the complete list of VMA winners here.
The 20-year-old hip-hop star was one of the most nominated artists at these awards with nine bids including Video of the Year and Best Hip-Hop Video for “Old Town Road,” plus Best New Artist for his breakthrough year as a whole. He didn’t win those prizes, but he didn’t come away empty-handed. He took home Song of the Year for his inescapable hit, and the video was awarded Best Direction.
“Old Town Road” recently ended a historic 19-week run at number-one on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart. That was longer than any song had ever spent in the top spot, surpassing “One Sweet Day” by Mariah Carey and Boyz II Men and “Despacito” by Luis Fonsi, Daddy Yankee and Justin Bieber. Both of those songs had spent 16 weeks at the top of the chart.
Amid “Old Town Road’s” chart dominance, Lil Nas X released his first EP in June: “7,” which features two versions of the song (both with and without Billy Ray Cyrus) along with “Panini” and five other tracks. And it’s a little poetic that both he and Video of the Year champ Taylor Swift (“You Need to Calm Down”) took home major prizes on the same night. She got her start as a country star and eventually crossed over into pop, while Lil Nas X is a hip-hop artist who sparked controversy by trying to cross over into country.
Maybe by 2079 he’ll finally be welcomed onto the country charts too.