Lil Nas X has said that he ‘doesn’t care’ about being a role model as it’s ‘not his job’ and that he hopes fans simply follow his lead in ‘doing themselves’.
The musician, 22, who raised eyebrows with his recent raunchy release Montero (Call Me By Your Name), explained how his plan is to do ‘whatever the f**k he wants’ and ‘laugh’ at anyone who’s ‘mad’ about it.
He also reflected on the controversial video for his song, which sees him grinding on Satan, saying it was ‘rebellious on many levels’ in an interview with GQ Style.
‘I’m going to do whatever the f**k I want’: Lil Nas X has said that he ‘doesn’t care’ about being a role model and hopes that fans simply follow his lead in ‘doing themselves’
He told said: ‘It’s rebellious on many, many levels for me…that I never want to portray too much feminine energy…that I have to keep it very safe and PG-13.
‘And even, as a gay artist, that I have to be…’ after searching for a word he settles on: ‘respectable’.
He continued that at the start of his career, he feared that, as a gay artist, he wouldn’t be ‘allowed to be really sensual or anything…like, I’m gay but I’m not ‘gay’…like, I’m gay but I have to make sure you feel like I can be straight passing too.’
Lil Nas X also detailed how his thoughts on being a role model have changed over time, with him now hoping fans just be themselves.
Confident: He also reflected on the controversial video for his song, which sees him grinding on Satan, saying it was ‘rebellious on many levels’ in an interview with GQ Style
He said: ‘At first I felt a sense of responsibility… But now I kind of just don’t care. It’s not my job. Of course I want to spread good ideals, but I’m not nobody’s parents.
‘At the end of the day, I’m just doing me, and hoping everybody else is following the lead, and doing themselves.’
‘Part of my plan is to make sure people know I’m going to do whatever the f**k I want, when I want to, and if you’re mad at it, I’m going to laugh in your face.’
Lil Nas X also spoke about how he came to deal with losing out on a Grammy to Billie Eilish for Best Song.
He explained: ‘I put all that energy I was feeling onto her. It became jealousy that wasn’t warranted: you have the longest-running No1 song, why the f**k are you jealous about this award?
Dancing with the devil: The video for Montero (Call me By Your Name) caused outrage for depicting the Old Town Road singer giving the Devil a lap dance in the pits of hell
‘We are already so blessed. Even if you don’t have these things, you’re here. You’re still alive. You exist. You shouldn’t have any reason to be jealous.’
Elsewhere the singer said that living ‘deep into the internet’ first challenged his belief in Christianity.
As he grew older, he also grew determined to live true to himself as a young gay man, and he found that Christianity, as least as it was presented to him, didn’t allow him the space to do that:
‘That was one of the main reasons why I never wanted to be gay; he says. ‘I even thought, ‘If I have these feelings, it’s just a test. A temporary test. It’s going to go away. God is just tempting me.’
Huge hit: Lil Nas X shot to international fame after the incredible success of his country/hip-hop anthem Old Town Road (pictured in January 2020)
Lil Nas X also reflected on some tougher times in his career as he relived the night that Holiday, the lead single from his upcoming album Montero debuted.
He explained that he checked himself into a hotel in November 2020, 18 months after his very popular country/hip-hop anthem Old Town Road changed his life.
Lil Nas X said: ‘I told my manager, ‘I don’t want to do it. Let’s cancel it. Let’s get rid of it. There’s no point. Nobody’s really f*****g with this song.’
‘I was crying. I was upset with myself. I felt like I’d… ‘failed myself, almost. I was crying like a crazy person. You know one of those times where you cry so hard your f**kin’ head hurts? It was like that.’
The next morning, the artist spoke with Ron Perry, the chairman and CEO of Columbia Records
Honest: Lil Nas X also spoke about how he came to deal with losing out on a Grammy to Billie Eilish (pictured) for Best Song, saying his ‘jealousy’ over her win wasn’t warranted
‘We talked about how it’s hard for artists who just had true success to get that back immediately. I eventually got myself the f**k up and said, ‘No, we got this. Let’s stay f**kin’ strong.’
Lil Nas then said he ‘went crazy on TikTok’, promoting the song until it became a fixture on the For You page. After four months, Holiday was certified platinum.
Turning the experience into a positive lesson, Lil Nas X added: ‘That song is a reminder that I have the power to make any situation better.’
Montero was an instant hit, debuting at the top of Billboard Hot 100 for the week of April 10, 2021, with 21,000 downloads, 46.9 million streams, and 1.1 million radio airplay audience impressions.
Amplifying the hype, Lil Nas X also released 666 limited edition sneakers which featured satanic imagery and contained a drop of human blood. They sold out almost immediately.
Backlash: South Dakota governor Kristi Noem slammed the shoe and video as ‘outrageous, disgusting and perverted’
Bigger fish to fry! After she continued to complain he responded saying ‘ur a whole governor and u on here tweeting about some damn shoes. do ur job!’
But not all of the attention was good for the Georgia-born artist.
Montero (Call Me By Your Name) and the exclusive kicks also earned a hearty amount of controversy from those worried about the saucy video’s effect on youth.
South Dakota governor Kristi Noemi lashed out at Lil Nas, saying ‘This is outrageous, disgusting and perverted and on #PalmSunday no less.
‘Somehow @lilnasx thinks that Satanic worship should be mainstream and normal. I don’t think there have been better candidates to cancel than LilNasX and these shoes.’
And the shoe was later at the center of a suit by Nike for using their unauthorized use of the classic Air Max ’97’s shoes. The dispute was settled out of court.
See the full feature in the GQ Style SS21 issue available on newsstands Thursday 13th May.
Read more: See the full feature in the GQ Style SS21 issue available on newsstands Thursday 13th May