Lil Nas X has been dubbed GQ‘s Musician of the Year, gracing the cover of their annual Men of the Year issue. In his interview, the 22-year-old rapper and singer spoke of a hopeful future for the LGBTQIA+ community entering hip hop.
“The whole landscape is very hypermasculine,” he said of the music industry. “I do feel like this newer generation of rappers who are coming in, and the ones who are here, are going to have to reshape their thoughts. Because change is happening. There’s going to be so many gay rappers. There’s going to be more trans people in the industry and whatnot. Ten years from now, everything that I’m doing won’t even seem like it was shocking.”
Lil Nas X, born Montero Lamar Hill, said he has firsthand experience of homophobia in the hip-hop music industry — most recently with rapper Boosie Badazz, who unleashed a homophobic Twitter rant against him in October, encouraging him to “commit suicide.”
Boosie wrote on Twitter, “STOP TROLLING ME F—– LOL U A WHOLE B—- PLAYING WITH A GANGSTA SMH U CAN KEEP SUCKING D— N GETTIN F—– N YOUR A– N PEACE N #uhateyourself I WOULD TOO IF I WAS YOU LOL NASx IF YOU #commitsuicide YOU WOULD DO THIS WORLD A HUGE FAVOR NOBODY WANTS YOU HERE.”
The tweet has since been deleted after violating Twitter’s code of conduct, with a notice explaining: “This tweet is no longer available because it violated the Twitter rules.” An army of queer activists and allies rose to his defense — including his own dad.
Montero said that his relationship with his father, Robert Stafford, hasn’t always been smooth. Though his dad has been a vocal advocate for his son and for queer people, calling out Boosie and DaBaby for their homophobic comments, it wasn’t always like that growing up.
“I feel like my relationship with my dad is closer now, but growing up, it just wasn’t there as much. Nothing where I felt like I could open up to him or anything. I think he probably definitely had his moments of ‘He’s definitely gay’ or something. Also, because I wasn’t willing to open up about that. If that would have happened at that time, I don’t feel like I’d be here right now.”
Lil Nas X said that when he first came into the music industry, he didn’t want to put his personal business out there, but after experiencing life in a pandemic, “I was kind of thinking, ‘We’re all human beings.’ We all have similar experiences. I’m sure there’s somebody out there with the exact same situation as me, so I might as well open up my life. I want to build a fan base of honesty and authenticity. And I was like, I have to go there. When I feel like I shouldn’t do it, I feel like that’s when I should definitely go for it.”
These days, he’s proud of what people call the “gay agenda” in his work because at the end of the day, “It’s just acceptance of gay people,” he said, adding of his critics, “They see that as a bad thing. Like, ‘They’re trying to normalize it.’ You know what? Yeah. That’s actually what I’m trying to do.”