“Lil Nas X” Montero Lamar Hill is a songwriter and rapper. Hill was born on April 9, 1999, in Lithia Springs, Georgia, to Robert Stafford and Shawnita Hathaway. He got his name from the Mitsubishi Montero car. When he was six years old, his parents divorced, and he moved into the Bankhead Courts Housing Project with his mother and grandmother. He moved to Austell, Georgia, to live with his father three years later. Hill attended Lithia Springs High School in Lithia Springs during his adolescence, graduating in 2017.
Hill then went to the University of West Georgia in Newnan, Georgia, and majored in computer science before dropping out after a year to pursue a music career. During this time, he works at Zaxby’s, a fast-food restaurant chain, and the Six Flags Over Georgia Theme Park. Hill took the stage name Lil Nas X in honor of fellow rapper Nas.
Hill’s breakthrough came in 2018, when the 19-year-old rapper released the country rap song “Old Town Road.” The received little attention until it was re-released by Columbia Records in March 2019. A remix version of the song featuring country music singer Billy Ray Cyrus was released. The song gained popularity on the social video sharing app Tik-Tok before entering the Billboard charts.
It peaked at number 19 on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart before being disqualified by the magazine for not fitting into the country music genre. Despite this, the song reached number one on the Billboard Hot 100 and stayed there for 19 weeks.
The song was certified diamond on October 29, 2019, after selling 10 million units in the United States. At the 62nd Annual Grammy Awards in 2020, Lil Nas won two Grammy Awards: best pop duo/group performance and best music video. Hill’s debut studio album, Montero, was released in 2021 and featured the singles “Montero (Call me by Your Name),” “Sun Goes Down,” “Industry Baby,” and “That’s What I Want.”
Despite his musical success, Hill would become embroiled in a number of controversies. Hill came out publicly as g** in 2019, which sparked outrage in the hip-hop community, including numerous homophobic slurs on social media. To add to the controversy, many in the country music community criticized Hill’s music videos, including “Old Town Road,” as “fake” country. His song “Montero (Call Me By Your Name)” was criticized for its allegedly satanic theme, which featured Hill performing on a st***per pole and performing a lap dance for the devil.
Hill collaborated with MSCHF, an American art collective based in Brooklyn, New York, to launch Satan Shoes in 2021. The satanic imagery on the shoes was criticized by both the hip-hop and religious communities. Despite the controversy, Hill is still working in the music industry as of 2021.