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Lil Nas X

From TikToker to trailblazer

Paras Griffin/Getty Images

Lil Nas X is one of the most “subversive” men in pop, says Jazmine Hughes in The New York Times, after spending the day with him in LA. The 22-year-old from Georgia became an overnight star three years ago, when his song Old Town Road went viral on TikTok. His remix of it with Billy Ray Cyrus charted at No 1 in the US for 17 weeks straight. As a boy, Nas shared a bed with his grandmother and four siblings: now he’s reportedly worth $14m and lives in a $2.4m mansion in California.

“Nas buzzes with an energy that borders on euphoria, as if he can’t wait for the rest of his life.” As a Christian teenager, whose father was a gospel singer, he felt the “darkest shame” about fancying men and thought it was a test set by God. But he came out after his first hit and now flaunts his sexuality as a “visibly gay” pop star, which Elton John described as “groundbreaking”. In one of his music videos he gives Satan a lap dance, and at the end of last month, dressed in a gold miniskirt, he kissed a male back-up dancer while performing at the BET Awards – sending shockwaves through conservative America.