Lil Nas X’s coming out announcement caused shockwaves Sunday, but, reportedly, the metro Atlanta rapper offered some hints about it weeks earlier.
Lorenzo Sozzi, who designed the cover for the rapper’s “7” EP, told TMZ there was a very specific vision for the album art. For the image, the “Old Town Road” artist wanted to depict himself leaving a dystopian world for a futuristic one.
The budding hip-hop star knew he’d need help executing his vision, so he put out an open call to illustrators, challenging them to bring his idea to life. Sozzi did it the best.
According to TMZ, the two then made some edits together, including adding a rainbow palette to one of the buildings. Although the emcee did not explain the significance of the rainbow at the time, Sozzi said he was adamant about it.
On Sunday, when Lil Nas X shared he was a member of the LGBTQ community, he said he thought the rainbow made his sexuality obvious.
He also said there were some hints in his song “C7osure.” In the tune, he raps, “Ain't no more actin', man that forecast say I should just let me grow/No more red light for me baby, only green, I gotta go/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.”
Lil Nas X (aka Montero Hill), was born and in Lithia Springs, a city outside of Atlanta, and worked at Zaxby’s and Six Flags before pursuing music. “Old Town Road” ignited controversy when, after debuting at No. 19 on the Hot Country Songs chart, Billboard removed it in March, deeming it more of a rap song than country.
In April, Billy Ray Cyrus hopped on a remix of “Old Town Road” and performed it with Lil Nas X at the June BET Awards.
The track just notched its 12th week at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 – the longest run for any artist this year.