Lil Nas X, whose viral hit “Old Town Road” caused an uproar when Billboard let it debut on their country charts (at No. 19), then reclassified it after Nashville gatekeepers complained, just ended Pride Month with a bang. The Atlanta-based musician—real name Montero Hill—has come out of the closet with a tweet encouraging his fans to listen to the lyrics of the song “C7osure” a little more closely:
Without any context, “C7osure” could be about casting off the past and pursuing your dreams in a general way. Present it in a rainbow emoji’d tweet at the end of Pride Month, however, and this verse gets a lot clearer:
Ain’t no more acting, man that forecast say I should just let me grow,
No more red light for me baby, only green, I gotta go,
Pack my past up in the back and let my future take a hold
This is what I gotta do, can’t be regretting when I’m old.
Lil Nas X removed any doubts about what he was trying to say with a later tweet, pointing out that he’d included rainbows in the album art of his new EP 7. “Deadass thought I made it obvious,” he wrote:
Congratulations to Lil Nas X! This is as good a reason as any to rewatch the preternaturally charming music video for “Old Town Road”:
Although there’s no telling how many gay black country hip-hop musicians we’ve missed out on over the years thanks to the homophobic strains in country music, hip-hop music, the United States of America, and the world at large, it’s thrilling to be alive at a time when an American original like Lil Nas X has the freedom to be himself. Can’t nobody tell him nothing!