Lil Nas X Songs: Tracking the Rise of a Queer Icon
In a world where genre lines are increasingly blurred, one artist stands out as a groundbreaking force in both music and cultural representation: Lil Nas X.
Born Montero Lamar Hill in 1999, this Atlanta native skyrocketed to fame with his breakout hit "Old Town Road," a genre-defying track that blended elements of hip-hop, country, and pop. But it's not just Lil Nas X’s songs that have brought him worldwide acclaim; it's his audacity to challenge societal norms and his unapologetically queer self-expression.
From his earliest viral banger to his current status as a multi-platinum artist, Lil Nas X has consistently defied expectations. His eclectic stylings have earned him a spot in the pantheon of pop icons idolized by millions of LGBTQ people.
Saddle up and get ready for a ride into the top 15 songs from Lil Nas X’s discography that have dominated the charts and inspired the LGBTQ community. Stick around to the end, and we’ll explore trivia about everyone’s favorite industry baby, including how he managed to break records and become a beacon for queer representation at such a young age.
The top 15 Lil Nas X songs
Unfamiliar with Montero’s massive catalog? Need a refresher course on Lil Nas X’s most popular songs? We’ve got you covered.
Whether you're a Swiftie with a penchant for lyrical storytelling, an admirer of Madonna's provocative themes, or a Little Monster who lives for the drama, Lil Nas X offers something you’ll find compelling.
1. "Old Town Road" ft. Billy Ray Cyrus
This genre-defying country-rap hit started as an independent release in 2018 before exploding on TikTok. Subsequent releases featured guest appearances from every corner of the music world, including Billie Ray Cyrus, Young Thug, and Walmart yodeling sensation Mason Ramsey.
The video’s tongue-in-cheek time-traveling cowboy theme challenges traditional notions of masculinity and race.
2. "Montero (Call Me by Your Name)"
Lil Nas X caused a stir in the heteronormative hip-hop world when he came out as gay in 2019. His eponymous 2021 hit, “Montero,” turned up the heat with an unabashed expression of man-on-man love.
Provocative and fantastical, the video sparked conversations with a mix of raunchy queer representation and religious imagery.
3. "Industry Baby" ft. Jack Harlow
Considered by many to be among Lil Nas X’s best songs, this track features clever lines about life in the music industry, asserting his place as a mainstream fixture — not just a one-trick pony. The video, set in a comedically queer prison environment, features a steamy all-nude shower sequence we’re all still fantasizing about.
The artist's second single addresses the complexities of his newfound fame and his relationship with his fans and friends. The futuristic video stars Montero alongside a team of slick CGI robot dancers and Disney Channel darling Skai Jackson.
5. "Sun Goes Down"
This deeply personal track delves into Lil Nas X's journey of self-discovery, laying bare his struggles with mental health while growing up as a queer Black man. The star has been open in interviews about how his meteoric rise to fame came at a time of deep depression. The video follows a heartfelt narrative that takes viewers through critical moments in the artist's life.
6. "Rodeo" ft. Cardi B
This track explores the hurt feelings of a committed relationship on the rocks, resonating with the co-dependent clingers and serial monogamists among us. The vampire-themed video plays with traditional horror tropes to tell a story of undying devotion gone wrong. Still, who wouldn’t want Lil Nas X to take a bite out of them?
The festive song celebrates Lil Nas X's rise to fame, serving as an anthem for those who've overcome obstacles to achieve their dreams. The sci-fi-styled video sees Lil Nas X sleighing it as Daddy Christmas. Not just anyone can serve in a snow-white beard.
8. "That’s What I Want"
This hopelessly romantic hit explores Lil Nas X's desire for genuine connection — a partner who will stay with him through thick and thin. The video portrays a passionate locker room love scene with a male love interest, a rarity in mainstream music videos.
9. “Kick It"
The song delves into the artist's relationships and friendships, offering a nuanced look at the emotional complexities of his life. While an official video is yet to be released, fan-made videos have filled the gap, often highlighting the song's emotional depth.
10. “One of Me”
Lil Nas X teams up with Elton John on this tune, bringing together the talents of gay icons from across generations. The lyrics speak from the perspective of the rapper’s haters, all insisting that he’s a one-hit wonder, laying bare the underlying insecurity of anti-fans.
11. "C7osure (You Like)"
This song is a heartfelt expression of Lil Nas X's desire to seize the moment and live it on his terms, a theme that resonates with many in the LGBTQ community. The chill yet driving beat reminds us that we’ll all get where we need to go in our own time.
12. "Bring U Down"
Lil Nas X tweeted about this track before its release, saying, “It’s from the perspective of people who try to ruin other ppls career when they see them on the rise.” The rapper is very active on social media, which helps him connect with fans but has also exposed him to plenty of vitriol.
13. "F9mily (You & Me)"
F9mily delves into the concept of chosen family, a significant aspect of life in the LGBTQ+ community. The song is a collaboration with Blink 182 drummer Travis Barker.
14. "Dont Want It"
The song explores the emotional toll of fame and success. Again, the rapper explores his struggles with mental health.
15. "Life After Salem"
This track chronicles a toxic relationship and the feelings of bitter resignation that come with it. No matter who you are, Lil Nas X has a song that’s sure to feel relatable.
Artist FAQ: Learning more about Lil Nas X
Let’s glimpse into Lil Nas X's enigmatic and ever-evolving personal life to add context to his song and overall artistry.
How old is Lil Nas X?
Born April 9, 1999, Lil Nas X is 24 at the time of writing.
How did Lil Nas X get his name?
In interviews, Montero has stated that the name change was a nod to rapper Nas.
Is Lil Nas in a relationship?
After many songs shedding light on the complexities of love and desire, you’re probably wondering about his relationship status. Unfortunately, so are we. After some high-profile relationships, the star says he has decided to avoid dating other celebrities.
Was Lil Nas married to Doja Cat?
Nope! This rumor gained traction on social media, likely fueled by their highly online and meme-loving fanbases. Lil Nas X and Doja Cat collaborated professionally but have no romantic connection.
Is that Lil Nas X on Maury?
The rapper pulled a promotional stunt in 2021 to promote his song, "That’s What I Want," appearing in a scripted episode of Maury. The appearance highlighted a fictional affair between Lil Nas X and Yai Ariza, his backup dancer and music video co-star. Their antics included secret spouses, lie detectors, paternity tests, and plenty of trash talk.
The drama was made all the juicier when we learned the two were briefly a real-life couple.
Is Yai Ariza really married?
Yai Ariza gained attention for his appearance in the "Montero (Call Me by Your Name)" music video, sparking curiosity about his relationship status. We feel pretty confident that his secret wife and child — revealed in the video and featured throughout the Maury special — were actors.
He and Lil Nas X were already broken up when the hype around their relationship peaked, but it appears they parted on good terms.
Has Lil Nas X broken any records?
Yes, his debut single, “Old Town Road,” broke the record for the longest-running number-one single on the Billboard Hot 100 chart at 19 weeks! The rapper outlasted other historic icons like Mariah Carey, Elton John, and Whitney Houston.
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