These are heady, well-earned times for rapper Lil Nas X.
Less than a year ago, the college drop-out was living on his sister’s floor.
Fast-forward to the release of his mega-hit single, “Old Town Road,” now the longest-running number-one song sitting atop the Billboard Hot 100 for 19 weeks now.
Along that journey, Lil Nas decided during Pride Month to come out as gay as his single continued its meteoric trajectory.
And now, the chart-busting country/hip-hop artist is covering TIME Magazine.
In an interview for the venerable publication, Lil Nas explains what having THE number one song represents to him.
“To me, ‘Old Town Road’ being the longest-running number-one song of all time means that…everybody has great taste in music,” says the 20-year-old with a sly smile before adding, “I’m joking.”
“My reaction, just like, me…I was in a complete state of shock,” he adds in a candid moment. “I cried a little bit.”
For someone who grew up poor, being shuttled from one divorced parent to another, it can only be mind-boggling that, in addition to the chart action, “Old Town Road” has been streamed – on Spotify alone – over a billion times.
TIME notes how disparate the stars that have aligned are that brought this to be.
“There aren’t many black stars in country music; there aren’t many queer stars in hip-hop,” writes Andrew Chow for TIME. “There aren’t many queer black stars in American culture, point-blank.”
“The fact that Lil Nas has risen so far and so fast testifies not only to his skill but also to the erosion of the systems that for generations kept artists like him on the sidelines,” adds Chow.
Chow points to social media and streaming platforms for ‘democratizing’ the path to possible success in the music industry today.
That said, Lil Nas isn’t doing the cocky walk any time soon.
He tells TIME, “Everything lined up for this moment to take me to this place,” adding that he feels “chosen” to be in this place at this time.
The country-trap artist didn’t expect “this time” to include coming out, but, here we are.
“I know the people who listen to this the most, and they’re not accepting of homosexuality,” admits Nas. “I never would have done that if I wasn’t in a way pushed by the universe.”
As “Old Town Road” continued its reign at number one, the U.S. entered Pride Month, and the artist says he saw “Pride flags everywhere” and “couples holding hands.”
And so, he tweeted one of the most casual ‘coming out’ moments in music history.
some of y’all already know, some of y’all don’t care, some of y’all not gone fwm no more. but before this month ends i want y’all to listen closely to c7osure. 🌈🤩✨ pic.twitter.com/O9krBLllqQ
— nope (@LilNasX) June 30, 2019
deadass thought i made it obvious pic.twitter.com/HFCbVqBkLM
— nope (@LilNasX) June 30, 2019
What’s next for the young musician?
“I definitely feel the need to use my platform to spread positivity and do good things for the world,” he says thoughtfully. “I don’t want to be, in the last minute like, ‘Dang, I should have said something about this, you know?”
“From here, I just want to keep making whatever my ears catch hold to and happen to love.”
Read the full profile over at TIME.com.