Lil Nas X Speculates About Life Without “Old Town Road” Success: ‘I Don’t Think I Would Have Ever Come Out’

Lil Nas X discussed the importance of representation in hip-hop and his decision to open up about his sexuality amid the dominance of "Old Town Road."

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Photo by Sean Zanni/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images

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Lil Nas X is reflecting on his decision to come out amid the success of “Old Town Road” in 2019. 

The chart-topping musician, whose debut album Montero just scored a No. 2 opening on the Billboard 200 with 129,000 equivalent album units moved, caught up with XXL for its fall 2021 issue and discussed the importance of representation in hip-hop and his decision to open up about his sexuality. 

“I don’t think I would have ever came out,” he explained of the move he made while his song was breaking the record for most weeks ever at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100. “I honestly felt like it was kind of my duty. Especially if I wanted to move forward. And [with] 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.”

Lil Nas also explained in the discussion with journalist Kris Ex that he had a fear of people judging him for “how I would act post-coming out.”

“I used to ‘like’ comments where people were like, ‘Oh, I like him, because he’s not all in your face about it.’ And then I realized kind of what that was,” Nas said. “It’s kind of like when people say, ‘Oh, I have a Black friend,’ and that kind of sits on everything that have to do with their Black history and culture, whatnot. I’m kind of like, I’m not that person, you know?”

The rapper currently has three songs sitting in the Billboard Hot 100’s top 10, a career milestone that comes along with a No. 10 debut for recent album single “That’s What I Want.” While it has yet to reach the No. 1 spot, Nas’ single “Industry Baby” with Jack Harlow is also sitting comfortably at a peak of No. 2.

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