Lil Nas X explains the inspiration for his stage name
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Lil Nas X explains the inspiration for his stage name

Atlanta country-trap sensation Lil Nas X is one-of-a-kind. He is a unique and exciting figure within the culture, so in a 2019 interview with TV host Jimmy Fallon, it was compelling to hear the inspiration behind his weird but wonderful stage name. Although figures such as Harlem’s GypjaQ and Miami’s Saucy Santana have been around for years, Lil Nas X is undoubtedly one of the first openly gay rappers to crossover into the mainstream and, as such, his mere presence within the culture has been highly polarising.

First emerging on the scene in late 2018 with his song ‘Old Town Road,’ Lil Nas X was seemingly an overnight sensation. His ability to fuse country music with trap seemed so effortless, and his catchy hooks made his tracks all the more enjoyable. With his origins in Atlanta, many questioned how he ascended so quickly upon his arrival in hip-hop without much of a backstory. Instantly rumours began to circulate about him being an industry plant—the emcee and singer has never addressed these accusations.

According to the rapper and trusted sources, he never expected to succeed. The Atlanta musician has admitted that his stardom boils down to his song’s popularity on TikTok and that he genuinely released ‘Old Town Road’ independently. According to the artist (real name Montero Hill), the instrumental for ‘Old Town Road’ was a cheap beat from YouTube that he bought for $30. However, the song took on a life of its own and soon managed to enter the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart.

Since the release of the ‘Old Town Road’ remix featuring legendary country singer Billy Ray Cyrus, Lil Nas X has become somewhat of a star and an icon within the LGBTQ community. However, there is still much confusion surrounding his name. Many assume he took inspiration from Lil Wayne, Nas and DMX. However, his music does not reflect the two latter artists. In a 2019 interview with Ricky Smiley, Hill spoke about the origins of his musical moniker.

Speaking with Jimmy Fallon on The Tonight Show, Hill explained, “When I started doing music, I was like, ‘I want to have fun with this, and every new rapper’s name is Lil, Lil, Lil. What if I was Lil Nas? That’d be funny.’ So I was like, ‘All right, bet. I’ll be Lil Nas.’ And I added the X later on.”

Although it was somewhat of an ambiguous answer to the question, one can only assume that the ‘Lil’ part of his name was the result of a hip-hop trend, the Nas was derived from the legendary New York rapper (real name Nasir Jones) and the ‘X’ will remain a mystery. However, in a 2019 interview with Ricky Smiley, the rapper stated that ‘Nas’ was his internet alias for an extended period of time. However, his answer to the ‘X’ part was extremely conflated and non-sensical.

You can watch Hill’s interview with Rickey Smiley in the video below.