By Ira Madison III

The 22-year-old pop star gets real about success and doing “whatever the f—” he wants, out loud and proud.

 Lil Nas X Speaks His Truth

TEXAS ISAIAH FOR EW

TEXAS ISAIAH FOR EW

Controversy briefly melts away when news arrives that "Montero" is a global No. 1 hit.

"I'm thankful," says Nas in our interview later that day. "But it also feels good to prove people wrong. It's one of my driving forces."

TEXAS ISAIAH FOR EW

Lil Nas X first manifested success as an unknown 19-year-old sleeping on his sister's floor in Atlanta.

"I was only getting like 1,000 plays a song, but I knew for a fact something huge was coming," he says. “It didn't even take a year of making music, and then boom."

TEXAS ISAIAH FOR EW

The boom, of course, was 2019 single "Old Town Road," but his new music leans into his queer identity even more: "At first I was really afraid of alienating any of my straight fans. But then it was kind of like, if they feel offended, they were never really here for me.”

TEXAS ISAIAH FOR EW

"Once you show the world more of yourself," he says, "they can relate more."

And he wants fans to really know that. "I want to be a voice for those who pretend to be themselves, but aren't quite there yet."

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TEXAS ISAIAH FOR EW