Lil Nas X's ascendance to fame has been rapid, to say the least. After reaching the coveted No. 1 spot on the Billboard Hot 100 for his track "Old Town Road," all eyes shifted towards his upcoming EP: 7. In his first cover story for Teen Vogue, the rapper opened up about viral fame, the Billboard controversy, and why he's not worried about people branding him as a one-hit wonder.
After releasing "Old Town Road," he explained that he diligently promoted it across social media platforms, in hopes of making his imprint on the industry. “If I’m sleeping, somebody else is up there doing what I’m finna do,” he told the publication. Given his meme-making background, the self-proclaimed "internet baby" is well-versed in viral content, and thus entrusted himself with circulating his own music.
"At first, I was just bored, like, 'Hey, Twitter, I made a song,'" he said. "But I'm like, ‘Wait, this is really hard.’ Then I made another one, and it didn't make any noise. I was overtrying. A lot of it was me trying to be something that people would like instead of making music that I would like. Around my fifth song, the melodies and flows were coming to my head with no effort. I was like, 'This is something I want to do.'"
Lil Nas X also talked about the Billboard controversy and explained that he believes country music can contain elements from other genres, but because he's a black man, he was forced to confront racially-biased obstacles. “You can have your country song with trap elements, but if it’s by known country artists, then it's allowed. A black guy who raps comes along, and he's on top of the country chart, it's like, ‘What the fuck?’"
In terms of how he reached the mainstream so quickly, the rapper explained that he doesn't believe Billboard removing "Old Town Road" from the country charts is the sole catalyst behind his success. “It definitely played a part, but it didn't overpower to the point where the Billboard situation was bigger than the song,” he said of the controversy. “By me being involved in something like that, it doesn't make me feel bad. It makes me feel even more accomplished in a way.”
However, going from a relatively unknown musician to the artist currently reigning the Billboard Hot 100 doesn't come without its challenges. During the interview, Lil Nas addressed the "one-hit wonder" speculation, a prediction he's confronted in the past, and shared why he isn't worried about his career slowing down.
“I've watched this happen over and over and over and over again. I've been the hater before. I've hated for no reason, so I'm seeing out [of] their eyes. They're hoping that this doesn't happen,” he explained. “They don't know shit.”
You can read the full Teen Vogue cover story here.
Lil Nas X revealed the tracklist for 7, which you can check out below: