Lil Nas X followed that “Old Town Road” to international superstardom, sitting at the top of the Billboard Hot 100 for a record-breaking 19 weeks. And along the way, he came out as gay on Twitter, confirming the speculation that his track “c7osure” and the rainbow on the cover of his EP 7 are references to his sexual identity.
Now, in a new interview with Billboard, the rapper discusses his decision to bust down that closet door. “Just like, rip the Band-Aid off,” he says.
The Georgia native, 20, says he felt freer to come out since he had already left the nest: “It’s something I never probably would have did if I was still living with my parents. I have that independence to do it, you know?”
Lil Nas X previously told TIME that Pride Month inspired him to come out — first to his father and sister and then to the world weeks later.
“I never would have done that if I wasn’t in a way pushed by the universe,” he told the magazine. “In June, I’m seeing Pride flags everywhere and seeing couples holding hands — little stuff like that.”
And he shows no signs of slowing down: His follow-up single, “Panini,” is already charting at No. 5 on the Hot 100 and has been certified Platinum. Pretty good for a guy who’s not even old enough to legally drink!