One of the last great rock icons, the figure of Kurt Cobain hangs large over music as a whole. An icon in his own right, the lead singer of Nirvana confirmed his spot in history with his tragic demise. It’s not only in rock and roll music that his presence is felt, Cobain is now often cited as a source of inspiration for hip-hop artists too, including Lil Nas X.
His defiant attitude is comparable to figures in hip hop, who are unashamedly themselves, just like Cobain dared to be. Although the Nirvana frontman had some issues with the genre during his lifetime — misaligned because of its misogynistic tropes just as he had with rock bands such as Guns’ N’ Roses — Cobain did have respect for the genre outside of its questionable lyrics.
In a long-lost interview with Robert Lurosso, the singer shared his thoughts on the genre: “I’m a fan of rap music, but most of it is so misogynistic that I can’t even deal with it. I’m really not that much of a fan, I totally respect and love it because it’s one of the only original forms of music that’s been introduced,” he noted.
Lil Nas X wasn’t a Nirvana fan until he sampled ‘In Bloom’ on his 2019 track, ‘Panini’ after his production team integrated the grunge hit into his work. But he soon fell in love with the band. His production duo, Daytrip, said: “Nirvana was also one of our biggest inspirations and something that brought us close together when we were first getting to know each other.”
Nas X then reached out to Frances Bean Cobain regarding the sample, and she gave it her blessing. He told Sirius XM: “I actually heard from Kurt’s daughter. She’s the one who pretty much approved the song and she told me how much she loved the video for ‘Old Town Road’ and stuff … It actually got me into the album for the first time. I had never heard Nevermind.”