This past Pride month, Lil Nas X wowed the internet with an iconic BET Awards performance that saw him kissing a male dancer on stage. Now though he's reflecting on the experience and opening up about what was going through his head at the time.
While he may have seemed cool as cucumber during the show, the star recalled the anxiety he felt prior to taking the stage in his new cover interview for Out.
"Going to this place with all these overly masculine rappers and you're finna be in there throwing a little ass every now and then, touching on dudes and hugging them and kissing them... At some points I was like, 'Should I even do this?,'" Lil Nas X told writer Tre'vell Anderson. "I don't feel like they're going to love me like that."
That said, the hitmaker explained that the overall importance of his performance outweighed any concerns he had about a potentially negative reception, saying that "you can't always just go where you're accepted."
"You've got to go and break down those walls and say, 'This is my space now too,'" he continued. However, Lil Nas X also went on to talk about "draining and straining" it's been to come into his authentic self while acting as a representative for the queer community within the rap and hip hop space.
"The pressure of living your entire life knowing the identity of what a rapper is supposed to be, what rappers [are supposed to] do, and going out there in front of all these people, it's terrifying," the musician said. "[The BET performance] was like jumping in a lake full of sharks and piranhas — and I've had to do that so many times within these last three years. Even coming out, that was terrifying. When I put on the costume of Nicki, terrifying."
But even so, Lil Nas X continued by saying that he no longer feels like he has to "blend in" to be an industry success, adding that though he still isn't his "full self," he's closer to it than he's ever been.
"Now I genuinely don't mind and wish to do my own thing and stand out. I wanted to just be an artist at first. I wanted to just make music," he concluded. "But now I have even more of a purpose: to continue to find myself and, by doing so, help others find themselves."