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Music

K-pop’s BTS and yodeler Mason Ramsey join Lil Nas X for kitchen-sink ‘Old Town Road’ Grammy jam

Lil Nas X and BTS
BTS, Mason Ramsey and Billy Ray Cyrus join Lil Nas X for an only-on-the-Grammys version of “Old Town Road”
(Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)

“Old Town Road” had record-breaking staying power on the charts in part because of its remixes and guests. All of them and then some came out to perform with Lil Nas X at the Grammys.

While the Grammys are known for sometimes-perplexing collaborations onstage, the scattershot assemblage for “Old Town Road” — K-pop megastars BTS, country singer Billy Ray Cyrus, EDM producer Diplo, viral yodeler Mason Ramsey — all hopped on official remixes during its 19-week reign atop the Billboard Hot 100.

The genre-agnostic Grammy supergroup showed just how versatile “Old Town Road” was as a pop phenomenon — a country-rap sensation built from a Nine Inch Nails sample with a K-pop guest verse.

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During the show, Lil Nas X cleverly made that revolving-door policy literal, walking from room to room onstage to showcase each version of the single with different guests. Most significantly, perhaps, was BTS’ turn in the round for “Seoul Town Road,” the first K-pop performance at the Grammys (one suspects that given its sustained and explosive popularity, it won’t be the last). He expanded the coterie even further — bringing out his sorta-namesake Nas to close out the set.

The Grammy performance capped a remarkable rise for the 20-year-old born Montero Lamar Hill, who emerged from music-biz obscurity to viral star to Grammy winner in a little under two years.

Earlier in the day, Lil Nas X took home his first Grammy for music video, with collaborator Cyrus, director Calmatic and producers Candice Dragonas, Melissa Larsen and Saul Levitz. The song is also up for record and pop duo/group performance.

Whatever comes next for Lil Nas X — a sustained career at the very-online intersection of everything, or simply a remarkable run on the charts in 2019 — he had the time of his life tonight in every room he walked into.


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