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Celebrating the iconic, boundary-pushing Lil Nas X on his 22nd Birthday

Lil Nas X has achieved more than the average early twenty-something-year-old. Constantly pushing boundaries and being his unapologetic self.

Celebrating his 22nd birthday today, we take a look at Lil Nas X’s already insane career as a queer icon, and a complete cultural reset.

Lil Nas X, born Montero Lamar Hill, is not just your average 22-year-old. Hoping into the spotlight at just 19 years old with his hit debut Old Town Road featuring Billie Ray Cyrus, Nas has presented as being unapologetically himself since the beginning.

Lil Nas X Birthday 1
Image: The Guardian

This decision has put him in the headlines for causing quite the controversy. Still, his genuine authenticity has made him become such a hit, particularly among the irony-clad, nihilistic Gen-Z.

Lil Nas X grew up in the small conservative community of Lithia Springs, just outside of Atlanta, Georgia. Nas always knew he wanted to be an entertainer but also knew from a young age he would never come out of the closet, because of the conservative nature of the people he grew up around.

Nas was your typical millennial growing up, scrolling through Twitter and keeping up with the world of celebrities. He saw the way people who had come out at his school were treated, how they were ridiculed for things they couldn’t help.

He learned at a young age that it was easier to oppress his sexuality and blend in that risk being different. Little did he know one day he would be brave enough to influence millions of people like him to embrace being different.

In just a few short years, Nas went from hiding his true identity, to fully and utterly embracing it as the global superstar that he now is. Like it or not, Nas has become a queer figurehead, a true icon for people like him, and it’s all credited to a little old song called Old Town Road. 

The rap-influenced country song was brought to life after Nas bought a $30 beat on a Dutch producer’s YouTube account – and the rest is history. The song was iconic. Every child, mother, and grandmother was singing along to the infectious beat for what felt like the whole of 2019.

On the last day of pride month in 2019, Nas officially came out as gay via a Tweet, where he mentions that he thought he had made it pretty obvious in the lyrics of his previously released music.

 

Over the years since being in the spotlight, Nas has made it very clear where he stands on views, unapologetically sharing his thoughts and beliefs with the world – which more often and not has caused its fair share of controversy.

This past month, in particular, has bought Nas into the headlines what seems like every other day of the month. Releasing his latest single, Montero (Call Me By Your Name)Lil Nas X gave a provocative spin on biblical references and, more specifically, plays on the condemnation of the LGBTQ+ community to hell.

In the music video released with the song, the rapper slides down on a stripper role to hell and proceeds to give the devil a lap dance. Since the release, Nas has hilariously trolled critics on Twitter, parading his wonderful LGBTQ+ pride. 

From outsiders who don’t understand Lil Nas X’s chaos, it is easy to question the rapper’s motives and controversy. Yes, his methods may be madness, but there is no doubt that the rapper is doing some good in the world.

The advocacy and awareness that Nas is bringing to the LGBTQ+ community alone is something worth celebrating. And let’s not forget, Nas is the true definition of an artist – breaking barriers, expressing his art controversially – similar to pop-star icons like Madonna with her cone-bra, and Gaga with her meat dress.

So, how does one celebrate an artist’s birthday who seemingly has everything? Well, Nas has spoken, and he only wants one thing and one thing only, for everyone to stream Montero (Call Me By Your Name) and walk outside at 3 pm EST to twerk simultaneously. For you, Lil Nas X, anything. Happy Birthday, king!