Lil Nas X‘s real name is Montero Lamar Hill. The 20-year-old rapper and songwriter went from running Nicki Minaj fan accounts on Twitter to becoming the genius behind the longest-running Billboard Hot 100 song to date.
“last year in october ? , as a struggling artist ??♂️starting to lose faith in what i could be, i went looking for beats on youtube???. i remember clicking on so many generic sounding beats??trying to find the right one for me?. when suddenly i came across a country-trap ????sounding masterpiece?. i immediately knew i would make something special out of it??,” Lil Nas X wrote on Facebook.
Here’s what you need to know:
Montero Lamar Hill Was Born and Raised in Atlanta, Georgia
According to Rolling Stone, Lil Nas X was born Montero Lamar Hill on April 9, 1999 in Atlanta, Georgia. He reportedly grew up in a poor household outside of Atlanta. As a teenager, Montero felt alone and turned to the internet for comfort. He began running several Nicki Minaj fan accounts before finding fame, the outlet reports.
Montero had completed his freshman year of college at the University of West Georgia, where he was studying computer science, before playing around with music and posting songs to SoundCloud. When people started listening to his music, he decided to drop out of school, Rolling Stone reported.
The amateur musician began sleeping on the floor at his sister’s house. He reportedly lived off the money he’d saved working as a cashier at the Georgia chicken chain Zaxby’s, and as an attendant at Six Flags, where he supervised kids’ rides like Yosemite Sam’s Wacky Wagons. According to several tweets, Montero was in a rough spot before he spent the $30 that would change his life.
Lil Nas X Rose to Fame After a Viral Tik Tok Video
The New York Times detailed how Lil Nas X’s smash hit song “Old Town Road” went from being a meme on Twitter to the longest-running number one song on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.
Lil Nas X reportedly found the catchy beat by YoungKio on Halloween night in 2018. He purchased the beat for a cheap $30 and quickly wrote the song with memorable, meme-worthy lyrics. Once finished, he began promoting the song as a meme on Twitter. Shortly thereafter, a popular Tik Tok creator, Michael Pelchat, asked if he could use it on his account. Pelchat’s video quickly went viral, sending Lil Nas X’s song to every corner of the internet.
After Pelchat’s viral video, “Old Town Road” hit the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart. However, the song was declared “not country enough” and was swiftly removed. The removal was controversial and prompted Lil Nas X to record a remix with country music icon Billy Ray Cyrus.
After Lil Nas X released the remix of “Old Town Road” with Cyrus, the song broke records, spending 19 weeks on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. The YouTube video has been viewed over 370 million times. In addition, the “Old Town Road” remixes collectively account for over 1 billion streams on Spotify.
Since the remix with Cyrus, there have been four additional official remixes, according to Spotify. Lil Nas X worked with American DJ Diplo, rapper Yung Thug, singer Mason Ramsey, and Korean rapper RM of the band BTS. Lil Nas X promised the remix with RM would be the last.
Lil Nas X Was Named One of the Most Influential People on the Internet
According to TIME, Lil Nas X is one of the top 25 most influential people on the internet in 2019. The outlet evaluated contenders by taking into account their global impact on social media as well as their overall ability to drive news.
For TIME’s fifth annual unranked roundup, the young rapper and songwriter was listed alongside people like Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, President Donald Trump, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, Ariana Grande, Cardi B, and more.
TIME commented on the controversial tweet in which Lil Nas X announced that he was gay. After being told that being gay is “not okay,” Lil Nas X made his public announcement on the last day of Pride Month, according to the New York Times.
“some of y’all already know, some of y’all don’t care, some of y’all not gone fwm no more,” he tweeted. “but before this month ends i want y’all to listen closely to c7osure.”
He said he thought he made it obvious, however, some fans needed more clarity. He suggested they listen to his song “c7losure” a little more carefully. While Lil Nas X suggested that he might lose some fans over his sexuality, he was welcomed by a wave of support.