Lil Nas X’s pioneering work continues to elevate marginalized voices in music, but according to the proud hip-hop star, he’s found a select family through social media.
In an upcoming interview, CBS Sunday Morning On Sundays, the “Old Town Road” and “Industry Baby” rappers are broadcasting about how he has been constantly reinventing himself and how social media has given his life new meaning.
“This was probably one of the first places I felt, ‘Oh my God, this is for me,'” Nas says, adding that it felt like a ‘lonely person’ growing up and Twitter becoming a second home.
“It’s like my actual family. I’ve become closer with the people I’ve met online than with the people I’ve met in real life,” he explains. “I learned the ways of the Internet. … I learned how to be viral and what to stay away from.”
As a black gay musician, Nas is well aware that he disrupts the image that most people attribute to successful hip-hop artists. But he admits it took a while to fully embrace it.
“I feel like I’m working with him a lot more than that,” he says now. “[In the industry] It was always, ‘Okay, you’re gay, this needs sterilizing.’ …gay, but let’s not include anything sexual. It’s like, “Be gay without being gay.”
Since coming onto the scene in 2018, Nas hasn’t been afraid to challenge the status quo – including this year’s BET Awards, which has become a milestone for the Black queer community.
As he told playwright Jeremy Harris: GQNovember cover storyAnd All Nas is trying to do is be himself.
“The whole scene is very masculine,” Nas said of the music industry. “I feel like this new generation of rappers coming in, who are here, are going to have to reshape their ideas. Because change is happening. There will be a lot of gay rappers. There will be more transgender people in the industry etc. Ten years from now. Everything I do won’t sound shocking.”
While Nas said he found family on social media, he’s also directly experienced the brunt of online homophobia.
Earlier this year, rapper Boosie Badazz unleashed bad feelings on Twitter against Nas, encouraging him to “commit suicide,” after which an army of gay activists and allies came to his defense – including his father.
The anxiety he felt in his early years, which was based largely on fears of defeat, has faded thanks to the support he has received online.
“It was a lot of anxiety,” Nas said. GQ. “It was much darker in my head than people were probably seeing. And it was like, ‘Damn, I’ve been working hard, like not sleeping, and I just got into the music industry, and that’s going to ruin everything for me.'”
Nowadays, he’s proud of what people call the “gay agenda” in his work because at the end of the day, “it’s just gay acceptance.”
“They see it as a bad thing,” he said. Like, ‘They’re trying to normalize it. “You know what? Yes. That’s actually what I’m trying to do.”