Lil Nas X: Why So Famous? By Kai D.

Over 54 million monthly listeners

Multiple #1 songs

16 total top 100 songs

Billions of streams

Lil Nas X. He has recently become a worldwide music sensation with multiple grammy awards and billions of streams on spotify. He has taken over the entire music industry, especially the pop/rap genres. He has become one of the most loved, hated, and most of all, controversial singers in the world. Since he came out at the end of pride month in 2019, nobody has not heard of this household name.

Most people would say that the main reason Nas became famous is because of his smash-hit single: “Old Town Road” which conquered the globe. But only for a moment. For a while, he was only considered a “one hit wonder”, and he stayed like that for about a year. While he did release a new album and a couple of singles, he still stood in the shadow of the legends like Drake and Kanye. Everything changed in 2021 however, when he came out with his new single “MONTERO (call me by your name)” which again shook the entire music industry. But this time, he stayed famous. Because the real reason why he is so famous and stayed famous today, is because of the honesty and brutal truth behind his songs. Whether those things are good or bad.

Yes, there are other things that lead to Lil Nas X’s fame, like when he came out as gay. Or the numerous famous artists that have been featured in his songs. Or maybe it was just his first hit “Old Town Road”. But then again, those never really kept him famous. “Old Town Road” was the top song for a while, but like all one hit wonders, it faded away. The second he released his first relatable, down to earth song, and kept on doing it, he always had some of the top 100 songs. His singles “INDUSTRY BABY” and “MONTERO (call me by your name) are some of his most popular and most listened to songs.

If you look at the lyrics of his more recent songs, you’ll notice that they relate to the life of Lil Nas X. For example, ‘INDUSTRY BABY” goes a little like this:

You was never really rootin’ for me anyway

When I’m back up at the top I wanna hear you say

He don’t run from nothin’, dog

Get your soldiers, tell ’em that the break is over”

In this part of the chorus, Nas talks about his struggle after coming out as gay. He is responding to the haters out there in a way, saying that they were never really supporting his sexuality, and he is not going to back down. He wanted everyone to acknowledge and accept him when he is back on top of the leaderboards. Earlier, he states that 

“Funny how you said is was the end, yeah

Then I went did it again, yeah”

Again, he is talking about the backlash of coming out of the closet. Everyone thought it was the “end for him”, when in fact, it wasn’t, and then he produced another #1 hit song.

“Baby back, ayy

Couple racks, ayy

Couple Grammys on him

Couple plaques, ayy

That’s a fact, ayy”

The opening of the song is Nas’s way of saying: How do ya like me now? As he made a massive comeback. Holding many awards, grammys, and plaques to show for his success. In its entirety, “INDUSTRY BABY” is almost like what he would say in the faces of all the people that didnt believe in him, or just straight up hated him for who he is. He is speaking for the people that came back from a bad spot and found success in their own way.

Not all of his songs are positive though. Actually, the majority of them are about the negative parts of his life. Again, to stay famous, you need to be consistent. Shortly after the release of “INDUSTRY BABY”, Lil Nas X released his debut album “MONTERO”. A fitting title, because his actual name is Montero Lamar Hill. The album contains 15 songs, each and every one relating to his life in some way or another. In “SUN GOES DOWN” he talks about his suicidal thoughts and college years. He also sings about how self conscious he was about his looks, race, heritage, sexualuality, and most importantly, what he would say to his past self. In “TALES OF DOMINICA”, the song starts with the phrase “Woke up on the floor, oh, this plastic bed don’t blow-up no more”. This has a double meaning, both metaphorically and literally. Metaphorically, at a point in his life, he had hit rock bottom. Hence, waking up on the floor. As a part of this, he cannot support himself anymore, just like the cheap, inflatable mattress. He mentions the broken home he grew up in, and calls out to the other people that feel lost, angry, hurting, or alone, that he feels their pain. This strongly references his career in music before he broke through with “Old Town Road”, before all the fame and money.

These are only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Lil Nas X’s creativity and honesty. He sings about the spectrum of his feelings over time, his successes, and his failures. This seems to catch more and more people’s attention, as these themes are shown in people’s everyday lives. In deeper thought, he sings about how social pressure affects people letting out their true feelings. Or what people wish they could say without any consequences. His songs are a bridge between music and people’s inner thoughts/feelings. That’s why he has stayed popular in the music industry, and will continue to stay like that for a long time.