Lil Nas X: I’m most excited to see what I do next

Lil Nas X: I’m Most Excited To See What I Do Next
Lil Nas X, © PA Archive/PA Images
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By Naomi Clarke, PA Senior Entertainment Reporter

Lil Nas X has been making waves since he rode in on his horse five years ago by harnessing the power of the internet to create viral hits, while also disrupting genres and gender norms in his wake.

After dropping out of college to focus on his music, the Atlanta-born rapper and singer had been watching social media trends and spotted an opportunity when the unusual mix of country tropes and hip-hop beats started gaining popularity.


He wrote some catchy lyrics, bought a 30 US dollar (£23.59) beat on YouTube and his debut single Old Town Road was born.

The rapper, real name Montero Lamar Hill, promoted the track through a series of memes and in 2019 it went viral on TikTok with a trend which saw people dancing and lip-syncing to the song dressed in their cowboy best.

MTV Video Music Awards 2019 – Show – New Jersey
Lil Nas X and Billy Ray Cyrus collecting the award for song of the year on stage at the MTV Video Music Awards 2019 (PA)


The track was later turned into a remix with Billy Ray Cyrus and spent two weeks at number one in the UK and a record-breaking 19 in the US.

However, the song was later removed from Billboard’s country chart as they deemed it as “not embracing enough elements” of the genre, sparking controversy.

The conversation on black artists entering in to country music gained further traction earlier this year when Beyonce released her latest album, Cowboy Carter.

Ahead of dropping the country-inspired record, the singer superstar said it was born out of an experience of “not feeling welcomed” within the genre.


Many have cheered Beyonce on for continuing to break down barriers within music, Lil Nas X included.

“I’ll say this for Beyonce, I love that she’s always like ‘OK, I want to do this now’. And she never feels pigeonholed to any genre or whatnot”, he says.

“And I also like to see black artists thriving in country because I know how hard that must have been to even get to a place that I feel is so gate-kept and to say ‘Ha, I’m going through it’.

“I think it’s beautiful. I think it’s amazing. I love evolution.


“I’m excited to see country artists work with each other and black country artists working with the people that are thriving in that realm – I love it.”

Glastonbury Festival 2023
Lil Nas X has continued to carve out his own path and embrace his sexuality over the years (Yui Mok/PA)

The rapper has also become known for upending genres and stereotypes. Amid his success with Old Town Road, he came out as gay on the last day of Pride month after being inspired by the energy of the crowd when he joined US star Miley Cyrus and her father Billy Ray on stage at Glastonbury that summer.


While navigating the typically hyper-masculine genres of country, rap and hip-hop, Lil Nas X has continued to carve out his own path and embrace his sexuality.

He confirmed he was not a one-hit wonder by releasing several other popular tracks but his next viral moment came in the form of the provocative, sexually liberated hit Montero (Call Me By Your Name). The music video, which featured the musician sliding down a pole into hell before giving the devil a lap dance, raised more eyebrows and inspired further video trends.

Lil Nas X has shown he is not one to shy away from being vulnerable, but he has peeled the curtain back even further with his latest documentary.

Directed by Oscar-nominated filmmakers Carlos Lopez Estrada and Zac Manuel, the film follows the Grammy-winning artist over 60 days as he embarks on his first tour across North America for his 2021 debut album Montero.

“I guess they see a bit more of my human side outside of what a lot of people know me for”, the 25-year-old rapper says about the film.

“Outside of the internet comedian things and my antics…

“I think they get to see that side and maybe they get to relate a little bit more.”


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During the project, Lil Nas X reflects on how his work and actions have received a mixed reception, with some thinking he is “really brave” while others see him as a “satanic devil that’s going to ruin the world or part of a big agenda”.

“People feel a lot of things about me”, he says in the documentary. “But me, boy do I love this kid.”

The film also delves into his journey to accept his identity while navigating his family’s traditional and conservative views. At one stage he reveals how his sexuality was the “elephant in the room” while growing up, but that he felt coming out was “very important to progress”.

Long Live Montero, named after his tour, also shows the extensive preparation that goes into creating a theatrical tour of this magnitude.

“I feel like a lot of people don’t know the ins and outs of what goes on behind the scenes in general”, he muses.

“Like how much work and effort me and the people around me put into a lot of things.

“A lot of times, I feel like it just looks like it’s an easy (thing), like ‘Boom, another great achievement’.

“But no, it’s nerve-racking, it’s an emotional process.”


And although he comes across as confident on stage, the film highlights the nerves and pressure he feels ahead of performing.

He admits this was the biggest challenge he faced while preparing for the tour.

“(When) I’m on stage, I’m thinking about what every single person is thinking, about every single thing that I do, while I’m up there,” he explains.

“I’m just like ‘Get out of there, let’s finish this performance up’.”

You will have likely heard of the age-old technique of imagining the audience in their underwear as a way to help the performer feel more in control.

Well, Lil Nas X put his own spin on the method to help him through his string of shows.

“I had an unhealthy coping mechanism but it helped, which was just imagining everybody as AI bots or something”, he reveals.

“I’m like in a simulation, I don’t have to worry about anything, I can just go out there and have fun because nobody out there is real, it’s all in my head.

“Which is not the best way to go about it, but it helped.”

The film also features a cameo from pop superstar Madonna when she comes to see the rapper backstage ahead of one of his shows.

As they pose for photos he tells her how her show inspired some of the theatrics he incorporated into his tour, while his film also draws on her 1991 Truth Or Dare documentary.

Amid the film’s release, Lil Nas X is ensuring his fans are kept well-fed with content as he has been releasing tracks on streaming service SoundCloud while he works on his second studio album.

The MET Gala 2024 – New York
Lil Nas X (Matt Crossick/PA)

And the buzz around the project has also served as inspiration for his upcoming music.

“I think I’m most excited to see what I do next,” he says.

“I’m very much a person of a catalyst. ‘Boom, I move after the catalyst’.

“So I’m very excited to see how I navigate this.

“It’s like you know you’re going to be on the other side of something, but you never know exactly how you do it, at least in my case.

“So I’m excited to tell the story.”

Lil Nas X: Long Live Montero is available in Ireland on digital platforms to rent and own.

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