Sunday marks a year since Lil Nas X released the remix — featuring guest vocals from country crooner Billy Ray Cyrus — for his genre-blurring song “Old Town Road,” which went on to break Billboard charts. The 20-year-old is marking the anniversary with a revealing new interview with British newspaper the Guardian, in which he opens up about his sexuality.
Born Montero Lamar Hill but known to friends as Nas, the Grammy winner says he hid his sexuality, keeping his now-decadent wardrobe subdued and “acting really hard” on early rap tracks.
“The honest truth is, I planned to die with the secret,” says the rapper, who eventually confirmed that he is gay in a tweet last summer. Ever since, he’s leaned into his burgeoning status as an LGBTQ icon by hitting the red carpet in elaborate Technicolor fashions, but admits he has reservations about appearing to pressure young fans.
“I 100 percent want to represent the LGBT community,” he says, adding, “I don’t want to encourage them to do something they don’t 100 percent want to do. Especially in, like, middle school or high school. Because it’s just super-hard.
“It’s easier for me,” he continues. “I’m not depending on anybody. There’s no one who’s going to kick me out of the house — nobody to start treating me s****y.”
Though he doesn’t speak to his mother, he says he is out to his family, though not necessarily open.
“My family knows now,” he tells the newspaper. “But it’s not something that’s ever brought up or we speak about. We’re quiet on it. Nobody’s like, ‘Oh, you got a boyfriend?’
“It would have to be something I grew used to hearing,” he says when asked if he wishes his family were more invested in his love life. “I don’t want it to be something we never talk about. Because what about the kids in my family? I would like it to be a healthy medium between, ‘Who are you f***ing?’ and just not saying anything.”
The Georgia native also addresses his decision to decline a request to publicly endorse Mayor Pete Buttigieg in the presidential race; the openly gay politician has since dropped out.
“I’m not too into politics,” he says. “I don’t know his political history or motives. The only thing I know … Wasn’t he from the Democratic Party? ... All I know is he’s from the Democratic Party and he’s gay. So it’s like … I don’t want to base my support off, ‘Oh, you’re gay, I’m going to support you.’
“Yeah, you’re gay,” he continues. “But I don’t know everything you’re planning when you’re running the entire country.”
He adds that while “politics gets me very upset” and he is hesitant to endorse someone “because I don’t know what else they’re doing, or what they’re going to do,” he does plan to take part in the 2020 election.
“Of course I’m going to vote,” he says, though he has not yet registered to do so, according to the article. “I encourage my fans to vote.”
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