After causing upheaval in country music, the Twitter-verse, and our innermost souls where catchy songs go to die, Lil Nas X has made another bold declaration that makes it clear he's only here for the memes.
On June 30, the final day of Pride Month, the 20-year-old seemed to come out on Twitter, posting, "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. 🌈🤩✨" After launching his career through Internet's gimmicky meme-culture and riffing on outdated country tropes with his brand of "country-trap," it's hard to take the singer's glib Tweets seriously—especially since queer-baiting, pandering, and profiting off the LGBTQ+ community has become an unfortunate underpinning of Pride Month (hi, Taylor Swift, you'll get plenty of attention soon).
In "C7osure," the lyrics Lil Nas X is probably referring to are, "Ain't no more actin' / Man that forecast say I should just let me grow / Pack my past up in the back, oh, let my future take ahold / This is what I gotta do, can't be regrettin' when I'm old." Like most of the tracks on Lil Nas X's debut EP, 7, the lyrics are perfectly generic and vague enough to project any experience onto. They're as recyclable as a meme. In fact, the artist's first EP does little more than dabble in various genres, as Montero Lamar Hall struggles to pinpoint who his persona Lil Nas X is and what he represents. As Pitchfork noted after the EP's release, "We don't learn a single thing about Lil Nas X on 7 other than he might have actually been born in a Reddit test tube in 2018."
He followed up with a second Tweet of pictures of his EP cover and the post, "deadass thought i made it obvious." The image's cowboy-in-the-big-city shtick features some multicolor lighting in the blurred out background, which he zooms in on to imply that his use of "rainbow" colors was a wink to his sexuality.
In response, his manager, Adam Leber, called him "incredibly brave and an inspiration to all the young kids who follow and look up to you." Fans embraced Lil Nas X and posted their support on Twitter and Instagram, with some sharing the artist's tongue-in-cheek tone that it shouldn't even have been a surprise. One user posted, "Me watching yall freak out about lil nas x being gay while i, an intellectual, know that every cowboy is gay."
It's the perfect statement to once again make the music industry squirm and confront its arbitrary gate-keeping of what's accepted within certain genres and their typical lack of diversity. From country music's historically racist overtones to trap music's forgiveness of frequent homophobia (as well as country music's, frankly), a queer "country-trap" artist is a gorgeous (and much-needed) sentiment to challenge those outdated strictures.
However, when a flashy newcomer who's meme-d his way to the number one spot on music charts makes yet another controversial statement that makes Twitter squeal with delight, it's fair to question its authenticity. And that's a tragic fact, a contradictory runoff effect from our long-awaited cultural celebration of queer artists. None of that's to say that a prominent artist (seeming) to come out is anything but laudatory, but the music industry will profit off of anything. And with meme-culture making gimmicks, shareability, and shock-value more profitable than ever, we should all have trust issues with the Internet. As one user wrote, "Anyone shocked Lil Nas X is queer missed the most painfully obvious clue: he's actually good at Twitter." The Internet-savvy cynic has to wonder if it's possible to be too good at Twitter. Until Lil Nas X solves his identity crisis as an artist and becomes more than a meme, his tongue-in-cheek posts about his sexuality feel like Taylor-Swift-style queerbaiting more than an authentic celebration of Pride Month.