Lil Nas X: Is the rapper the defining star of his generation?

He’s only been making music for three years, but Lil Nas X has upended hip-hop with his LGBT-positive lyrics while also pioneering new ways of promoting his music online.

Following the release of his long-awaited debut album Montero, here’s how he became one of his generation’s most compelling pop stars.

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In 2019, Lil Nas X took two of music’s most hyper-masculine genres, rap and country, mashed them together, created a global hit single – then came out on the last day of Pride.

Subversive and brilliant as it was, the decision to reveal his sexuality was made on the spur of the moment.

It all happened on the main stage at the Glastonbury Festival, where he was making a surprise appearance during Miley Cyrus’s set.

“People were waving their pride flags, and it was just so much excitement,” he later recalled. “I was like, oh my God, this is it.”

The musician, real name Montero Lamar Hill, wasn’t sure how his fans would react. Rap music in particular has few gay role models – with artists like the Beastie Boys, NWA, 50 Cent and Eminem all having used homophobic slurs in their lyrics.

As recently as 2018, Migos rapper Offset was comfortable releasing a song that bragged, “I cannot vibe with queers”. This July, DaBaby – who has collaborated with Dua Lipa and Megan Thee Stallion – caused outrage with a series of ignorant comments about gay men and Aids.

Lil Nas X has used the launch of Montero to respond to the bigotry in typically subversive fashion.

Having promoted the album through a mock pregnancy in recent weeks – including sharing photos of himself with a fake bump – a video released first thing on Friday shows him literally delivering the record, playfully referencing DaBaby in the process.

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