Lil Nas X: Breaking Free of Genre

lil nas x_Photo Credit: Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images for Stagecoach

Born as Montero Lamar Hill in Lithia Springs, Georgia, on April 9, 1999, Lil Nas X is an up-and-coming musician who is crafting a musical name for himself. Hill’s parent’s divorced when he was 6 and he lived with his mother and grandmother in Bankhead Courts, a housing project on the Westside of Atlanta. Hill encountered hard struggles like being exposed to drugs and violence constantly. Later when he was nine, Hill moved with his father to a quiet suburb known as Austell. In hindsight, the artist believes that leaving Atlanta to live with his father was a powerful decision that he needed to make.

When he was in the fourth grade, he started playing the trumpet. Although, later in high school Hill stopped playing the instrument. As a teenager, Hill began spending more time in the digital world building his friends and followers on different platforms. It was his intention to use it as a means to promote his work, even though he didn’t have a creative outlet at the time. In 2017, he graduated from Lithia Springs High School and went to the University of West Georgia. However, going to college didn’t work out too well for Hill and one year later, he dropped out.

Hill posted a lot of comedy videos and memes on Vine and Facebook. Eventually, Hill gained more notoriety on his page under the username “NasMaraj” as he created viral content. In the summer of 2018, Lil Nas X decided to enter the music industry. As a youngster, he grew up listening to hip-hop artists like Kendrick Lamar and Drake. Eventually, Lil Nas X made a song called “Shame” and posted it to SoundCloud. The sound received a lot of attention, which made him look deeper into music. Lil Nas X posted a couple more songs online, but none of them gathered much attention.

On July 24, 2018, Lil Nas X released his first EP, NASARATI on SoundCloud. The seven-track album featured songs like, “Sonic Shit” and “Thanos.” To date, the album has been streamed over 2 million times on the platform. In October 2018, Nas found beat-maker YoungKio on YouTube. He gravitated to the song which sampled a banjo from a Nine Inch Nails song. Motivated, Nas purchased the track for $30 and spent the following month writing a song to fit the instrumental. He posted the song on Twitter and pushed it using memes and cowboy content until it went viral via the TikTok app.

2019 Stagecoach Festival - Day 3

Lil Nas X struck at gold with his hip-hop/country crossover, “Old Town Road”, and life changed dramatically for the young star. Earlier this year, the artist was living on his sister’s couch with a negative bank balance. Now he is traveling across the country to meet various managers, producers, and fans. Once “Old Town Road” was released, Billboard decided to remove the song from its country charts claiming it wasn’t country enough but Billy Ray Cyrus connected with Lil Nas X to remix the song and further pushed the song to popularity.

Lil Nas X recently signed with Gee Roberson, the former manager of Kanye West and Drake. For the young artist, it was an amazing opportunity to connect in the same circle of people that worked with his music idols. Lil Nas X mentioned that he is currently working on a full-length album but there’s been no specific information on a release date yet. Many listeners and fans are interested to hear more from the artist to see where his musical direction is headed, but many will have to wait to see what happens as Nas is still very new to music.

Nas released his newest EP project 7 on June 21, 2019. Featuring hits “Old Time Road” and “Panini,” he wanted to make sure that he didn’t create an album of country rap. While another country song is on the EP with Cardi B, the album pulls influence from other genres as well such as rock and hip-hop.

The blending of country trap, hip-hop, and rock, brings a fresh infusion of creativity for Nas. While the wildly popular “Old Town Road” has set the standard high for the artist, Lil Nas X doesn’t intend on being a one-hit-wonder. Recently on the last day of Pride Month in June 2019, Lil Nas X came out as gay. This has opened more conversations about race, sexuality, and creativity. In new interviews, Nas uses his stance as a way to help fans feel more comfortable and to lead the way for others looking to get in the industry.

Written By: Carlton Rolle

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