In a new interview with XXL, Lil Nas X recounts coming out in the wake of the success of his hit song “Old Town Road,” calling it a “duty” to represent other queer people within hip-hop. He previously called the making of his song “Montero (Call Me By Your Name)” therapeutic for him after coming out, which he tells XXL is something he would not have done had “Old Town Road” not been so popular and successful.
“I don’t think I would have ever came out,” he says. “I honestly felt like it was kind of my duty. Especially if I wanted to move forward. And what I was doing, because authenticity is very real, and I feel like people can see right through that. And that’s a part of me.”
His reluctance is understandable. While his announcement was greeted with plenty of acceptance, there were also those who rejected him — as he rightly predicted they would when he refused to admit to being a Nicki Minaj stan. Almost immediately, he faced backlash from other famous figures. He was forced to check Kevin Hart on The Shop over Hart’s old homophobic bits, while in the wake of his success, he’s had to field knee-jerk reactions from other rappers like Dave East, Joyner Lucas, and Boosie Badazz, while shutting down Twitter commenters who claim he’s “being gay for success.”
Nas also had a hard time recruiting other rappers to feature on his debut album Montero, telling a fan on Twitter, “maybe they didn’t want to work with me.” Fortunately, he’s got others on his side such as Kid Cudi, who believes Nas will “break down” the “cloud of homophobia” stifling hip-hop simply by being an example to the youth who might feel left out right now.