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Chris Rock wants to be a Cool Dad. Sure, he's a comedy legend, he's a Saturday Night Live alum, he's had a whole sitcom based on his life, he's hosted the Oscars multiple times, and his films have made billions of dollars at the box office. But what's cool to a teenager in 2021 is a whole different ballgame. Rock knows this—so when faced with a career decision these days, he turns to the ultimate barometers of cool: his kids.
That's how he ended up doing a cameo in the music video for one of the biggest songs in the world, a pop cultural phenomenon all on its own: Lil Nas X's country-rap banger "Old Town Road." In the video, Rock plays an old-timey Wild Wild West sheriff in 1899. Rock tells the story in a new episode of "Explain This" and in Esquire's Summer cover story.
"Now this is a perfect example of the Forrest Gump-ness of my life. I had no idea who Lil Nas X, right? So I get asked to do this video. So I asked my daughter, Zahra, 'Should I do this video?' She goes, 'What? Of course you should do this video!'" Rock explains in "Explain This." "Like, I'm in the video for the biggest song ever made. I don't know how the fuck that happened," Rock says.
But the ultimate cameo in the biggest song ever came at a price for the comedian. He explains, "And by the way, I'm allergic to horses. So I had to ride a horse all day. I thought I was gonna die. I thought my throat was gonna close up. I almost died for Lil Nas X." But that's the price you pay to be relevant in the world of your teenage kids.
In the cover story, Mitchell S. Jackson explains more about Rock's relationship with his two daughters. “I have a focus group in my house,” Rock shares. “I definitely run things by them. My daughters are all about ‘You got to stay relevant.’ They want me to work with relevant people.” It doesn't get any more relevant than "Old Town Road." Let's just take a moment to appreciate the wisdom of youth.
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