No artist had as big of a come-up in 2019 than Lil Nas X, from dropping out of college to hit the studio, to having a whopping SIX Grammy nominations and the shattering the record for the longest run in the No. 1 spot on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, a seemingly unforgettable feat for the 20 year old rapper. And at such a young age, he only has more and more room to grow.
In an interview with Variety, the Atlanta artist opens up about his rise to stardom, what he's learned, and his family life. His "Old Town Road" blew up way more than he could have ever imagined, and a shy, less confident Lil Nas X was forced to start performing in front of large crowds, even though he hadn't even so much as been to a concert before.
“I wanted to do more performances last year, but it didn’t go as planned and I didn’t have confidence.”
And after halting his tour appearances, many thought he meant he was calling it quits; but he doesn't plan on stopping anytime soon. In December of 2018, he paid $50 for the beat and the studio time, and that investment in himself ultimately paid off a MILLION times over! Using Soundcloud and eventually creating the #YeeHaw challenge on social media platforms, most importantly TikTok, X found almost immediate success. The fusion of Country-trap even got him a spot on the Country charts, which was short-lived for disputes with the song's genre and whether it deserved a spot there. From there, his song charted on the Hot 100 and skyrocketed into the spotlight. Despite this worldwide success, Nas says that his rejection still hurts to this day.
“I don’t feel like any specific place in the music industry accepts me as a whole.”
He later opens up about his relationship with his mother, father, and his family as a whole. He struggled with his relationship with his mother, growing up in public housing with his grandma until his dad gained custody of he and his siblings. He largely kept it a secret, but he had been trying to get his mother into rehab due to her struggles with addiction and how it affected their relationship as a whole.
“I never really talk about my mom. She’s an addict so we don’t have the closest relationship. Even trying to get her better — things didn’t quite work out. But there’s still love.” Loneliness, too: “The biggest surprise of becoming globally famous? On the outside, everybody loves you — but on the inside, everything [feels] the same.”
Nas also talks about coming up during a difficult time in rap music, and how its shaped his life.
“So much happened during my rise,” he says, referring to the deaths of Nipsey Hussle, XXXTentacion and Juice Wrld. “You know, drugs and murders. And my grandmother passing [in 2018]— she was the first person close to me who died. It was devastating. And it made me a hypochondriac: I’d wake up, heart racing. It was scary.” He even admitted that during this time, he self-medicated, “smoking [weed] heavily." But all of this helped him get focused and after a while, he began to "feel more connected with the universe" and seeing a lot of things in life as a sign.
Are you excited to see more Lil Nas X in 2020?