1. Wild Wild West
> Artist: Kool Moe Dee
> Album: How Ya Like Me Now (1987)
> Spotify plays: 2.6 million
Grammy award-winning rapper Kool Moe Dee dabbled in western imagery more than three decades before Lil Nas X with his single “Wild Wild West.” The song about a rough neighborhood was accompanied by a Western-themed music video. It peaked at No. 62 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1988.
2. Square Dance Rap
> Artist: Sir Mix-A-Lot
> Album: Swass (1988)
> Spotify plays: 0.7 million
Before he released his smash hit “Baby Got Back,” Seattle-based rapper Sir Mix-A-Lot released his first single “Square Dance Rap” in 1985. The song, which features the sounds of a high-pitched square dance caller, was later re-released as a part of his debut album “Swass.”
3. Ghetto Cowboy
> Artist: Mo Thugs Family ft. Bone Thugs-N-Harmony
> Album: Chapter II: Family Reunion (1998)
> Spotify plays: 10.8 million
Mo Thugs Family — a collective led Bone Thugs-N-Harmony — released the single “Ghetto Cowboy” off their second album. The song’s lyrics contain numerous references to Western themes, and its backing beat features samples of horses galloping. The song peaked at No. 15 on the Hot 100 chart in 1999 and reached the top spot on Billboard’s Hot Rap Songs chart.
> Artist: Kid Rock
> Album: Devil Without a Cause (1998)
> Spotify plays: 31.7 million
Kid Rock’s music combines influences from various genres, including rock, rap, and country. All of these can be heard on “Cowboy” from his 1998 album “Devil Without a Cause.” The song opens with a blazing harmonica and slide guitar and features the chorus, “I want to be a Cowboy, baby; ride at night ’cause I sleep all day.”
5. Wild Wild West
> Artist: Will Smith ft. Dru Hill, Kool Moe Dee
> Album: Willenium (1999)
> Spotify plays: 19.4 million
Will Smith’s song “Wild Wild West” was a huge hit, reaching No. 1 on the Hot 100 during the summer of 1999. The song was originally recorded for Smith’s movie of the same name, and it was then included on his album “Willenium.” While the song does not incorporate the sounds of country music — it heavily samples Stevie Wonder’s “I Wish” — it includes Western lyrical imagery much in the same way that “Old Town Road” does. The song also features rapper Kool Moe Dee, who recorded his own “Wild Wild West.”
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