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Lil Nas X on How Tyler, the Creator and Frank Ocean Influenced Him

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At the end of 2019 Pride Month, Lil Nas X took to Twitter to publicly come out as gay. It was a particularly momentous decision as the rising star was making waves in both hip-hop and country, two genres that have historically lacked LGBTQ representation.

The “Holiday” artist touched on this during a recent interview with Zane Lowe, reflecting on the influence of both Frank Ocean and Tyler, the Creator as hip-hop/R&B artists who also came out while in the spotlight.

“I think artists like Frank in general and, like, Tyler and whatever, they made it easier for me to be where I am, comfortably,” Lil Nas X said around the 1:13 mark above, going on to praise one of Ocean’s 2017 singles. “Also ‘Provider’ was a very special song to me during this relationship I was in. So yeah, go Frank, he’s amazing.”

X also went on to say he hopes his coming out will also inspire other queer artists to live their truths.

“I was just getting signs, ‘OK. It’s time we do this thing.’ Because it’s like I’m already moving forward and I’m becoming more free with everything I do, so let’s take this to the next level and do this,” he told Lowe. “Because I mean, it was either going to be that or what? Pretend this for the rest of my entire life? … And also being one of those people that was like, ‘OK, I want to make room for you now.’ So everybody who’s coming behind me, ‘OK. This is going to be cool. It’s going to work out fine.’ Yeah. But that’s another reason why I knew that I had to do it. Because the day before I was like, ‘Damn, should I really do this? Is this what…’ And I’m like, ‘No, this is definitely what I should do.’ Especially given my platform, where I am, the communities that I stand in between. It’s like little shit like this shouldn’t be a problem.”

Later in the interview, Lil Nas X shared some kind words for his fellow Grammy-winner Billie Eilish, whom he included on his “At Home With” playlist.

“Billie is just so fucking amazing and talented. And that’s exactly the main reason I love her,” he said. He went on to add, “She’s going to do whatever the fuck she wants and she’s not apologizing for it and she’s going to say how she feels about whatever. And I really admire that because there’s still things I’m like, ‘OK, I need to speak on this,’ that I won’t do because I’m like, ‘OK, what’s this person going to say? What’s that person going to say?’ Billie is amazing.”

The conversation also turned to Lil Nas X’s much-anticipated debut studio album, which he previously claimed was “almost finished.” He said the project would find him stepping out of his comfort zone and would be much more personal than his 7 EP. He did, however, promise to deliver “bop after fucking bop.”

“You have no idea. There’s so many people I’ve been working with,” he said. Asked for any specific hints or collaborators, he offered, “Very, very popular singer, male, and he’s a record breaker. “OK, that’s all I have. I will say about this album though, I kept features to a minimum. I just feel like I really want to give people me and just me on some of these, because I feel like, especially with singles last time, I always followed up with a feature or a remix.”

Listen to Lil Nas X’s full interview above.