Lil Nas X hits cover of Teen Vogue: 5 Interesting Takeaways
The country song with a trap beat is dominating the charts and its artist is riding high on its success. But there's a story behind it all
When Lil Nas X sings “cain’t nobody tell me nothin,’ ” these days he’s probably right.
Although just 20 years old, the breakout rap artist has enjoyed success with his song “Old Town Road,” which has topped the Hot 100 Billboard chart for eight weeks and just may qualify as the anthem of summer 2019.
He doesn’t get much sleep.
Since the hit song dropped at the end of 2018, Lil Nas, whose real name is Montero Lamar Hill, has been on a mission to promote the song on social media, sit down for media interviews and photo shoots, you name it.
“If I’m sleeping, somebody else is up there doing what I’m finna do,” the Atlanta rapper told Teen Vogue. “I get moments of ‘I’m tired,’ but I feel amazing.”
He is nice with the memes.
Lil’ Nas X has been on the web for years, perfecting his skills. He started on Facebook and then got on Instagram. He made Vines initially and became proficient on YouTube. Now he’s heavy on Twitter. He said he became especially good at putting out funny tweets and making memes.
“I was always making memes, and now I have music,” he said.
There’s even a rumor that Nas X was so good online that he ran a popular Nicki Minaj fan page, which he and his label deny.
Songwriting is hard.
When he first tried it, Nas admits he was bored and was just playing around. But then it became a challenge for him to get it right.
“At first, I was just bored, like, ‘Hey, Twitter, I made a song.’ But I’m like, ‘Wait, this is really hard.’ Then I made another one, and it didn’t make any noise. I was overtrying. A lot of it was me trying to be something that people would like instead of making music that I would like. Around my fifth song, the melodies and flows were coming to my head with no effort. I was like, ‘This is something I want to do.’”
He’s a college dropout.
The youngest of six siblings, Nas majored in computer science in college and was a good student, but he lost interest. “I was doing good in school, but I didn’t want to do school anymore,” Nas said. In July 2018, he dropped out and released his first EP, Nasarati, on Soundcloud.
“Old Town Road” was birthed out of his personal strife.
At the time he wrote the song he was distraught over the direction of his life. When he He was living with his sister, who had also allowed another sister and brother to move in. The living quarters were cramped, but Lil Nas X was looking for freedom to escape his parents’ nags about his life choices. “’You’re always on that phone,’” he told Teen Vogue about his parents chiding him.
The uncertainty about his life sparked the creativity needed for the hit song.
“’Take my horse to the old town road and ride till I can’t no more’ basically means just running away, and everything is just gone. The horse is metaphorical for not having anything or just the little things that you do have, and it’s with you,” Lil’ Nas X said. The ‘old town road,’ that’s what I’m on now. It’s never-ending until you’re gone — till you can’t no more.”