Lil Nas X is WSJ. Magazine’s MUSIC INNOVATOR of the Year!

Posted on November 01, 2021

Lil Nas X covers WSJ. Magazine’s highly anticipated November Innovator’s Issue, out on newsstands Saturday, November 13th. 

The 22-year-old’s single “Old Town Road” was a huge debut, and now he’s one of the most-streamed artists in the world. With his first album, Montero, he’s blowing up the charts—along with the old rules for success.

 The past year has been a total rebuke to those who thought “Old Town Road,” the kid-friendly pop culture juggernaut he released in December 2018 while crashing on his sister’s couch, would make him a one- hit wonder. By publicly embracing his queer identity, hopscotching musical genres seamlessly and playing social media like a game for keeps, Lil Nas X has surprisingly emerged as a generational talent, someone who continues to break ground.

 


 

Nas on the success of his album and his wild year: “I’m at the best place I’ve ever been in life, but I always feel like I’m one step away from where I want to be,” he says.

Nas on his controversy-courting: “You take certain things like kissing a guy onstage: I know that’s going to be something that’s talked about. But let’s get into the root cause of why it’s being talked about,” he says.

 Nas on his Twitter obsession: Twitter is where Nas goes to work and to play, but he also describes it as his home. After years of obsessive use, he now feels invincible on the platform. “Anybody who tries to s— on me on Twitter, it’s just not gonna work,” he says.

 Nas on trying psychedelic mushrooms while working on his current album: Nas worked on the album throughout the pandemic with Take a Daytrip at Airbnbs in California. He says a pivotal moment in the process was trying psychedelic mushrooms for the first time. Baptiste and Biral sat by Nas’s side sober and talked to him throughout the day, occasionally taking dips in the pool and hot tub but not working on any music, just reflecting on life. Nas loved the trip and says it allowed him to push past lots of lingering feelings of self-consciousness. “I was able to open up a lot,” he says. “I was able to write actual stories about my life and put it into my music. I actually did that for the first time.”

Nas on his first feature for another artist: He wants to make sure his first feature for another artist is a special event, but knows that it’s not a make-or-break moment. “I didn’t need a co-sign to get into the music industry, I don’t need one to stay or anything,” he says.

 Nas on wanting to spend his money on others: He also wants to give away more of his newfound money, saying he doesn’t really enjoy shopping for himself. When he signed his recording contract, he says he bought a Burberry jacket for about $2,000 and almost immediately regretted it: “What was the point? To post it on Instagram once?” He says the house he bought in California last year hasn’t been filled with much furniture yet, and he’d rather take his friends or family members out on shopping sprees instead.

 Nas on not wanting to date right now: He doesn’t want to date someone right now. Even though the video for “That’s What I Want,” has him performing in a wedding dress and pining for someone to cuddle with, he just got out of a relationship and says he’s not ready to date again. He laughs when he recalls that all of the exes he wrote about on the album were at his album release party. (He says only one of them took offense at the portrayal of their relationship on the album.)

 Nas on his ultimate goal: “At the end of the day, I want to exist,” he says. “I want to have fun, I want to cause chaos sometimes. I want a long, legendary, fun life.”

 

 

 

[Photo Credit: Gregory Harris for WSJ. Magazine]

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