Lil Nas X on Teasing New Music in His Vitaminwater Collab, Why He Wants ‘Bussy’ in the Dictionary, and Grupo Firme
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Lil Nas X is our trolliest, silliest, goofiest pop star. That’s a fact. And that’s probably why he’s been enlisted by vitaminwater to play the colorful multitudes of his identity in a new set of commercials.
As part of the beverage brand’s “Nourish Every You” campaign, Rolling Stone can exclusively share one of Lil Nas X’s spots — the “feeling it” Nas — which sees the musician nearly falling for another guy, before he realizes he’s the “actually, I’m good” Nas and sips his XXX drink.
“It’s gonna look like six action-packed, fun, colorful, beautiful commercials that are going to hit the market and everybody’s just gonna say ‘I need my vitaminwater right now,’ ” Nas X tells Rolling Stone about the collab. “I just want everybody to drink some vitaminwater with me. That’s my goal here.”
The commercials offer a sneak peek to an unreleased song called “Give Me One Chance.” Amid Zoom freezes and questions about “bussy,” Rolling Stone caught up with the musician — sporting blonde, ramen-like hair — about celebrating Pride Month, Rolling Stone ranking Montero as the 151st best hip-hop album of all-time, and discovering Grupo Firme.
Your hair is giving.
Oh this old thing? [shakes hair]
I saw you were at Pride recently.
I went to Pride. I saw the gay people. Big fan of them. Big fan of those. It was great. It was fun. I danced with people. I signed shirts and someone’s boobs, randomly. I’m sorry. Let’s take that out. Sorry, Vitaminwater!
Nice. What did you get to see? I saw you met some drag queens, and listened to Grupo Firme on your Instagram Story.
You know what’s crazy? I was trying to see the name of that song but I couldn’t get it on Shazam, because it was coming from someone actually singing. So yeah.
Grupo Firme is the group.
You’ll have to send me the actual name. I can’t spell or anything.
You’re good. [Note: The song was “Yo Ya No Vuelvo Contigo” by Lenin Ramirez and Grupo Firme.] Would you ever be into doing Mexican music like that?
I would actually love to do something like that.
So we were talking about Pride. You’ve been sharing a lot about your advocacy for the addition of the word “Bussy” to the dictionary. Can you talk to me about this proposal and why it’s an important issue for you?
No way you just asked this. I really think “bussy” needs to be in the dictionary. It needs to happen really soon. I have no other thoughts about it. It’s equal rights. Put it in there.
It’s an important step in the right direction.
But turning this into a serious note: Being a gay person in hip-hop has been so important to your advocacy. What has that been like for you, now that it’s been three years since you came out as gay?
How’s it been? It has its ups and downs. But ultimately, I feel like it’s made me stronger. It’s helped me a lot. It’s put me in a lot of nice places, in a lot of great places. Like I wouldn’t even be here doing this vitaminwater commercial had I not like owned up to who I am.
It’s been cool to see your growth over the last few years. How do you reflect on the start of your career to how things are now?
It’s been a real, steep, steep hill of like, just trying to gain that confidence to keep pushing and do a lot of the things that I do sometimes. We always make it to that next round.
Oh, he’s just meditating.
Right, I’m so sorry. What’s it like to celebrate Pride?
It’s a lot of fun. I don’t think I’ve ever actually been to a Pride parade. One time I went, but I was doing like a photoshoot. It was really nice to just go out and dance with people. And just be there and see the smiles on their faces. It was really cute.
I love that. Rolling Stone recently did two really important rankings. One was our 200 Greatest Hip-Hop Albums list on which Montero was ranked 151. So I wanted to ask what you feel about that.
I think that’s incredible. And I’m really thankful that I’m even on the list.
Do you agree with the ranking?
What number is it at? 151? I feel like if it was up another 150, that’d be closer. I’m kidding! No, but I think it’s a nice ranking. I don’t blame it. I don’t mind it.
The other ranking was that you were the No. 1 in a list of Most Stylish Musicians. Did you see that?
That was earlier this year, right? People were pressed. It’s the truth. I’m sorry! I don’t know! It’s the truth.
How would you describe your approach to style?
I dress different on many occasions, like sometimes I want to be a little emo. Sometimes, I want to be overly flamboyant or wear street style. Every version of me. That’s why we’re even here today.
I see you’re in the studio. Are you working on some fire music right now?
Aren’t I always?
What’s the new music from Lil Nas sounding like?
It’s sounding really fun and gay. [Laughs]
Can you elaborate on that?
I can’t give you any more than that!
Speaking of new music, your Vitaminwater collab gives us a little glimpse of an unreleased song. Can you talk to me about that song?
The song is called “Give Me One Chance.” And I actually wrote this about my ex-boyfriend and he hasn’t even heard yet. And it was kind of like, “Hey, basically I want to get back with you.” But the hook is like, “Give me one chance” over and over. I repurposed it. Now it’s like, give vitaminwater one chance.
Is it weird to be making music about an ex and them not hearing it?
I don’t think it’s weird at all. He’ll hear it eventually. Oh, no. It’s freezing again. No, God. No. Please don’t freeze again!
Before I go, can I ask you why your name’s “Lil Kim” on Zoom?
I changed my name to Lil Kim on Zoom like a year ago. And I don’t know how to change it back. So it’s Lil Kim for every interview I’ve been on.