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Mainstream hip hop crossover artist Lil Nas X has been making waves in the country music world as of late.

His single, “Old Town Road,” was originally rejected by the country music community for not “embracing enough elements of today’s country music,” sparking the conversation of a lack of black artists in the genre. Nevertheless, he fought back with the addition of country star Billy Ray Cyrus in a remix edition, and the song returned to the charts.

The hit has now set a new precedence for remaining in the Billboard’s Hot 100 chart for a near record-breaking 15 weeks at No. 1, and he is also making queer history as the first LGBTQ artist to do so. 

The artist has officially come out as gay, and while he has been placing clues in his art for years, he’s open and making sure audiences in the hip-hop and country worlds know. 

Deemed as one of 2019’s most influential people by Time Magazine, the queer artist told BBC that is coming out publicly is “opening the doors for more people.”

Lil Nas X is indeed opening the doors for many who can now see representation in the otherwise white-washed, hetero-normative genre of country as well as opening minds in the hip-hop realm. Overall, however, he is making music about his life experiences and presenting a necessary alternative to the faces existing audiences are used to seeing. 

*Photo from artist Facebook page.