Lil Nas X explains meaning behind his stage, real name

Rapper described story behind his name as ‘slightly embarrassing’

Breakout star Lil Nas X recently divulged the story behind the name we all know him for and the name on his driver’s license in an interview with Jimmy Fallon.

The “Panini” hip-hop artist, who is a native of Lithia Springs, spoke virtually Friday with Jimmy Fallon on “The Tonight Show” about his career and his unique stage name. The 21-year-old also offered some background on his memorable real name in the lighthearted interview.

The pop star appeared on the show just as the Recording Industry Association of America announced a major milestone for his smash hit “Old Town Road.” The catchy tune has now been named the highest-certified song ever by RIAA after accumulating 14 million song units. The country-rap song, released in December 2018, catapulted the then-teenage entertainer into international stardom.

Since spawning the huge track, Lil Nas X, whose real name is Montero Hill, has won two Grammy Awards and released other Billboard hits such as “Rodeo” and “Holiday.” In his chat with Fallon, he talked about how he crafted his hip-hop image that led to his success. It all started with the name, which he said was inspired by some other top rap artists, think Lil Wayne and Lil Uzi Vert, who rose to prominence with names that included “Lil” in them.

“When I started doing music, I was like, ‘I want to have fun with this,’” he said. “And every new rapper’s name is Lil, Lil, Lil. ‘What if I was Lil Nas? That’d be funny.’ So I was like, ‘All right, bet. I’ll be Lil Nas.’ And I added the X later on.”

Since his real name, Montero, is also unique, Fallon asked the musician about its origin, which Lil Nas X said was “slightly embarrassing but not embarrassing.” He said his mom thought up his name in aspiration for her favorite car at the time.

“So my mom wanted the car, the [Mitsubishi] Montero, and she never got one ... So, yeah, I’m named after a car.”

His mom can now likely have multiple Mitsubishi Monteros. The songwriter and lyricist, who came out as gay in 2019, has been known for sharing his humble beginnings and striving to be as authentic as possible on stage and off stage. He said after coming out he could reveal more of his true self, but he told Fallon he realizes that may not be the case for many people. He said he does not advise taking that step unless they are ready for that.

“I don’t want to encourage them to do something they don’t 100% want to do. Especially in, like, middle school or high school because it’s just super hard,” he said. ”It’s easier for me — I’m not depending on anybody. There’s no one who’s going to kick me out of the house, nobody to start treating me (expletive).”

The Georgia native published his children’s book “C is for Country” last week, and he has encouraged his supporters to purchase it. The book made it to No. 8 on the national books list in its first week.