Lil Nas X: how the 22 year old rapper became the new queer icon

On April 9th, Lil Nas X celebrated his birthday: the American rapper is only 22 years old, but his videos are already garnering hundreds of millions of views on YouTube. For the first time, the new star of the American scene was discussed in 2018, when he, together with musician Billy Ray Cyrus, released a video for the song “Old Town Road” – an ironic parody of country music mixed with hip-hop. Now his “Montero (Call Me By Your Name)” is thundering with might and main – a single and a video, which have already been disassembled into memes.

The press attributes Lil Nas X to a new generation of queer artists and for good reason: in his work, the musician famously handles such a masculine musical genre as hip-hop. The artist is not ashamed of his feminine image, this can be understood by just looking at his photos on Instagram.

Now the discography of Lil Nas X has only one mini-album (7), which was released in June 2019. However, the artist already has several serious awards from American Music Awards and Apple Music Awards, as well as six nominations for last year’s Grammy. He achieved all this when he was barely 20 years old. It seems that being so successful is possible only on luckmillionaire.com after winning a jackpot. We will tell you what is behind this gorgeous success story.

A Self-Made Star

Lil Nas X studied the vastness of the Internet – memes and everything the most popular that was there. In his singles, there are always references to various cultural phenomena. On his breakthrough hit “Old Town Road,” he quotes lines from Kanye West’s “Can’t Tell Me Nothing” to a banjo cut from a track from the popular industrial band Nine Inch Nails.

Its video was clearly inspired by the future ad from Blade Runner 2049, and the artist’s latest video, “Montero (Call Me by Your Name)”, has a homage to FKA twigs’ Cellophane, and the song itself is a homage to the queer drama Call Me by Your Name.

X but Z

Lil Nas X is a typical representative of Generation Z. It’s about what ideas he conveys with his work and what discussions it generates. For example, “Old Town Road” has become the subject of racist talk. Initially, the track was declared in the country genre and participated in the Billboard magazine country charts, where the song immediately took 19th place, while in the hip-hop chart it started at No. 36.

In the wake of the popularity of “Old Town Road,” when the track peaked at No. 1 on the Billboard 100 Most Popular Songs, Lil Nas X came out as gay. Thus, he became the first openly homosexual artist with a song topping the Billboard Top.

It’s hard to say where Lil Nas X’s maneuvers will lead pop music. Now he is the most open-minded queer artist of traditionally toxic-masculine hip-hop while occupying the first lines of the national charts. Lil Nas X is an example of the amazingly skillful use of social networks, and his popular work is an occasion for discussion of the most pressing social issues.

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Buddy Iahn
Buddy Iahn founded The Music Universe when he decided to juxtapose his love of web design and music. As a lifelong drummer, he decided to take a hiatus from playing music to report it. The website began as a fun project in 2013 to one of the top independent news sites.
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