What happened to Lil Nas X?

Montero Lamar Hill (born April 9, 1999), better known by his stage name Lil Nas X (/nɑːz/ NAHZ), is an American rapper, singer, and songwriter. He rose to prominence with the release of his country rap single “Old Town Road,” the longest-running number-one song (at 19 weeks) since the U.S. Billboard Hot 100’s 1958 inception.[1] At the same time, Lil Nas X came out as gay, becoming the only artist to do so while having a number-one record.[2]

Following the success of “Old Town Road”, Lil Nas X signed with Columbia Records to release his debut extended play (EP) 7 (2019), which spawned two follow-up singles⁠: “Panini” and “Rodeo” (featuring Cardi B or Nas); the former peaked at number five on the Billboard Hot 100, while the latter peaked at number 22. His debut studio album, Montero (2021) peaked at number two on the Billboard 200 and earned a nomination for Album of the Year at the 64th Annual Grammy Awards. It was supported by the Billboard Hot 100-number one singles “Montero (Call Me by Your Name)” and “Industry Baby” (featuring Jack Harlow), along with the top-ten single “Thats What I Want”.

Known for his queer visuals and social media presence,[3][4] Lil Nas X has received numerous accolades, including two Grammy Awards, five Billboard Music Awards, five MTV Video Music Awards, two BET Hip Hop Awards, two iHeartRadio Music Awards and two American Music Awards. “Old Town Road” ranks as the second highest-certified song in the United States—with 17 platinum certifications.[5] He was placed on Forbes’ 30 Under 30 in 2020, and Time named him one of the 100 most influential people in the world the following year.[6] He became the youngest honoree in the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2022 upon receiving the Hal David Starlight Award in May of that year.[7]

Early life and education

Montero Lamar Hill was born in Lithia Springs, Georgia,[8] on April 9, 1999.[9] He was named after the Mitsubishi Montero.[10] His parents divorced when he was six,[11] and he settled in the Bankhead Courts housing project in the Bankhead neighborhood of Atlanta with his mother and grandmother. Three years later, he moved in with his father, a gospel singer,[11] north of the city in Austell. Although initially reluctant to leave, he later regarded it as an important decision, “There’s so much shit going on in Atlanta—if I would have stayed there, I would have fallen in with the wrong crowd.”[12] He started “using the Internet heavily right around the time when memes started to become their own form of entertainment”; about when he was 13.[13]

He spent much of his teenage years alone, and turned to creating memes on the internet.[11] His teenage years also saw him struggling with his coming out to himself as being gay; he prayed that it was just a phase,[14][15] but around 16 or 17 he came to accept it.[16] He began playing trumpet in the fourth grade and was first chair by his junior high years, but quit out of fear of looking uncool.[17]

Hill attended Lithia Springs High School, from which he graduated in 2017.[18] He then enrolled at the University of West Georgia, where he majored in computer science, but later dropped out after one year to pursue a musical career.[19] During this time, he stayed with his sister and supported himself with jobs at Zaxby’s restaurants and the Six Flags Over Georgia theme park.[12] In September 2019 he revisited his high school to perform a surprise concert.[20]


2015–2017: Internet personality

Hill said he began to isolate himself from “outside-of-class activities” during his teenage years. He spent large amounts of time online in hopes of building a following as an internet personality to promote his work, but was unsure what to focus on creatively. In a Rolling Stone interview he stated, “I was doing Facebook comedy videos, then I moved over to Instagram, and then I hopped on Twitter … where I really was a master. That was the first place where I could go viral.”[21] He also posted short-format comedy videos on Facebook and Vine.[12]

2018–2019: Breakthrough with “Old Town Road” and 7

Main article: Old Town Road

Lil Nas X in April 2019
On December 3, 2018, Lil Nas X released the country rap song “Old Town Road”.[a] He bought the beat for the song anonymously on beat-selling platform BeatStars from Dutch producer YoungKio for $30;[45][46] it samples Nine Inch Nails’ track “34 Ghosts IV” from their sixth studio album Ghosts I–IV (2008).[47] He recorded at a “humble” Atlanta studio, CinCoYo, on their “$20 Tuesdays” taking less than an hour.[48] Lil Nas X began creating memes to promote “Old Town Road” before it was picked up by short-form video social media TikTok users.[9][49] TikTok encourages its 500 million global users to “endless imitation”, with videos generating copies usually using the same music; the “app’s frantic churn of content …acts as a potent incubator for viral music hits.”[50] Lil Nas X estimated he made about 100 memes to promote it;[11] the song went viral in early 2019 due to the #Yeehaw Challenge meme on TikTok. Millions of users posted videos of themselves dressed as a wrangler or cowgirl, with most #yeehaw videos using the song for their soundtrack; as of July 2019, they have been seen more than 67 million times.

2020–2021: Montero

On July 7, 2020, Lil Nas X revealed that his debut album was “almost finished”. He also stated that he was working on a mixtape, and invited producers to submit their beats for his new music.[85] On November 8, 2020, he announced a new single, “Holiday”, which was released on November 13.[86] On Roblox, a virtual concert was held to promote Lil Nas X’s single, with Lil Nas X-related items in the game’s avatar shop.[87] The single debuted at 37 on the Billboard Hot 100, while the song’s music video accumulated tens of millions of views within the first several weeks of release.

In January 2021, he released a children’s book, C Is for Country.[88] The following month, he previewed his new song, “Montero (Call Me by Your Name)” in a Super Bowl LV commercial.[89] The song was officially released on March 26, 2021, along with an accompanying music video.[90] On the same day, Lil Nas X revealed that his debut album would be named Montero, and that it would be released in mid-2021.[91][non-primary source needed][non-primary source needed] The video prompted strong reactions. The song was seen by many as a valuable expression of queerness, though prominent conservative and Christian figures accused Lil Nas X of sacrilege and devil worship.[92][93] Despite the controversy, “Montero (Call Me by Your Name)”, debuted at number one on the Billboard Hot 100, becoming Lil Nas X’s second chart-topping single and third top-ten single.

2022–present: Upcoming second studio album

On March 16, 2022, Lil Nas X returned from his hiatus, and teased two songs from his “almost finished” new album, “Late to da Party” featuring YoungBoy Never Broke Again, and “Down Souf Hoes” featuring Saucy Santana.[109] He also posted a preview of the track “Lean on My Body”.[110] “Late to da Party” was eventually released as a single on June 24, 2022.[111][112][113][non-primary source needed] Lil Nas X said that the album would be “something fun, something for the summertime, something for the girls to get ready and party to”.

Musical style and influences

Lil Nas X’s musical style has been described as hip hop, pop rap, country rap,rap, pop rock,pop, and rock.

He credits LGBTQ artists Frank Ocean and Tyler, the Creator as inspirations and for “making it easier for me to be where I am, comfortably.” Lil Nas X also cites Nicki Minaj, Katy Perry, Drake, Miley Cyrus and Doja Cat as some of his biggest influences.In 2019 he said, “I grew up off the Internet, so my influences come from all over musically.” He grew up listening to hip hop artists such as Andre 3000, Kendrick Lamar, Kid Cudi and Lil Uzi Vert.

Personal life

Coming out
In early June 2019, Lil Nas X came out to his sister and father and he felt “the universe was signalling him to do so”, despite his uncertainty whether his fans would stick by him or not. On June 30, 2019, the last day of Pride Month, Lil Nas X came out publicly as gay. His tweet confirmed earlier suspicions when he first indicated this in his track “c7osure”. Rolling Stone noted the song “touches on themes such as coming clean, growing up and embracing one’s self”.The next day he tweeted again, this time highlighting the rainbow-colored building on the cover art of his EP 7, with the caption reading “deadass thought i made it obvious”.He was unambiguous in an interview several days later on BBC Breakfast, where he stated that he was gay and understands that his sexuality is not readily accepted in the country or rap music communities.

The response to the news was mostly positive, but also garnered a large amount of homophobic backlash on social media, to which Lil Nas X also reacted. The backlash also came from the hip hop community, drawing attention to homophobia in hip hop culture. In January 2020, rapper Pastor Troy made homophobic comments on the outfit Lil Nas X wore during the Grammy Awards, to which Lil Nas X responded: “Damn I look good in that pic on god.”

In January 2023, Lil Nas X tweeted a new statement suggesting he was “a little bisexual.”The next day he tweeted “that was my last time coming out the closet i promise”.

In November 2023, he tweeted that he was “still gay.”


Lil Nas X stated in September 2021 that he was an atheist “at one point,” but is now “a very spiritual person in terms of the Universe, how everything works.”

In December 2023, he announced that he had become Christian.

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