Rodeo
by Lil Nas X (featuring Cardi B)

Album: 7 (2019)
Charted: 55 22

Songfacts®:

  • "Rodeo" is a country-trap tune in a similar vein to Lil Nas X's breakthrough hit "Old Town Road." It finds Lil Nas rapping about a romance where he fears his partner is going to leave him in the cold.

    I thought you would stay with me
    I'm yours and you're mine, I envy
    So what I'm gon' do?
    I don't have no clue, ain't no me without you


    Nas doesn't want his lover to treat their relationship like a rodeo - a competition in which cowboys show their different skills. Among the events are riding broncos and bulls, during which the contestant could be unseated at any moment.
  • The song was originally titled "Never Cared" from a lyric in Nas' first verse.

    I can take it all back, I never cared 'bout what you thought
    I didn't mean to make you mad, I don't like when you upset
  • Lil Nas started working on this song during his first-ever studio session, which also spawned "Panini." It was produced by Take a Daytrip's David Biral and Denzel Baptiste, plus Roy Lenzo and Russ Chell.
  • According to Baptiste, the chunky cowboy guitar lick for "Rodeo" was introduced during that initial session. The song's chorus was the first part they completed, which was posted to social media before the rest of the song was finished.

    "We did the chorus, and then he just uploaded the chorus to his Instagram," Denzel Baptiste recalled to Complex. "We still didn't have the first verse done or the rest of the song done. But within two days, the video had, like, 3 million views on Twitter alone."

    A solo version of the track was completed a month and a half later in New York City.
  • Cardi B was brought in at the last minute to contribute a 29-second verse. She uses appropriate Western imagery during which she threatens to kill Lil Nas should he decide to dump her.
  • The Atlanta producers Don Lee and Glen Keith DeMeritt III sued Lil Nas X and his collaborators for copyright infringement. They wrote the song "gwenXdonlee4-142," which was subsequently incorporated into the track "Broad Day" by PuertoReefa and Sakrite Duexe. In the lawsuit, they claimed "Rodeo" is "substantially similar" to "gwenXdonlee4-142" despite the rapper never being given permission to borrow from their work.
  • A remix with rapper Nas was released on January 27, 2020, shortly after the two performed the song at the 2020 Grammy Awards.
  • Lil Nas X filmed a video of the song's remix with a treatment co-written by the rapper himself, alongside directors Bradley & Pablo. In the clip, Lil Nas is a vampire terrorizing the neighborhood, who gets turned into a supernatural superhero by Nas.

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