From history-making televised kisses to internet-breaking music videos, flamboyant red carpet looks and chart-topping singles, Lil Nas X is without a doubt one of the most successful and vital openly gay artists dominating the pop industry today. But if it wasn't for the viral success of "Old Town Road," Lil Nas X wonders if he would have come out at all.

Fresh off the release of his highly-anticipated debut album, MONTERO, Lil Nas X spoke with XXL about the importance of representation in hip-hop and his decision to come out whilst breaking the record of most consecutive weeks spent atop the Billboard charts. "I don't think I would have ever come out," he said. "I honestly felt like it was kind of my duty. Especially if I wanted to move forward. And (with) what I was doing, because authenticity is very real, and I feel like people can see right through that. And that's a part of me."

Lil Nas X went on to explain that he did fear that people would judge him for "how I would act post-coming out."

"I used to 'like' comments where people were like, 'Oh, I like him, because he's not all in your face about it,'" Nas X told the publication. "And then I kind of realized what that was. It's kind of like when people say, 'Oh, I have a Black friend, and that (sits on) everything that has to do with their Black history and culture... I'm kind of like, I'm not that person, you know?"

Thankfully for Lil Nas X, being open about his sexuality hasn't detracted from the young rapper's success. Eleven out of 15 of the tracks on MONTERO are currently on the Billboard charts with "Industry Baby," "Montero (Call Me By Your Name)" and "That's What I Want," all sitting pretty in the top 10. It also marks the first time the artist has ever had three tracks simultaneously in the top 10 bringing his all-time total to five along with previous hits, "Panini" and the aforementioned "Old Town Road."

Photo via Getty/ Axelle/ Bauer-Griffin/ FilmMagic

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