Music superstar Lil Nas X is no stranger to causing a stir — sometimes just for being who he is. After announcing the release of his debut album Montero with a fake pregnancy, fans know to expect the unexpected.
But the rapper’s latest cover of a timeless Dolly Parton hit is just the kind of surprise mash-up listeners don’t expect to love. Now some are wondering if there’s any future for a collaboration between the rapper and the country legend.
Finding acceptance in the music industry
Lil Nas X is candid about some of the obstacles he faces as a gay, Black man trying to find a place in the music industry. “I was scared to let people see my vulnerability, because I didn’t want them to use it against me,” he told People.
But he wanted to show the world who he really is on his debut album Montero. “I feel like I finally found a great balance between being as real as possible within my music and making a hit song,” he said. That seems to be why he announced and released the album by faking pregnancy and childbirth. “I’m like a mother sending her child out into the world.”
The fan response to the album is positive, especially “Sun Goes Down” — a song about coming to terms with sexuality. He shared that fan reactions to that song have been particularly moving for him. “I got messages from people telling me that it saved their life,” he shared.
The rapper also has some famous friends to support him — like Elton John and Miley Cyrus. He featured both music megastars on his album, but when he visited BBC Radio 1 Live Lounge, he chose to cover someone else’s song.
He performed one of Parton’s biggest hits. Now fans would love to see another collaboration in the works.
Lil Nas X covered ‘Jolene’ for BBC
Recently, the rapper performed a Dolly Parton hit, “Jolene,” and surprised many music fans. Most who are aware of Lil Nas X know his first hit single, “Old Town Road,” was also popular on country radio. So, not everyone finds the cover to be unexpected, but some are surprised by just how much they like it!
When talking about his choice for the song, he called it “beautifully sad” but said he likes “the country twang in it.” Fans agree that the decision was great, and some called his rendition haunting and soulful. It was described as “subversive” in headlines – seemingly because he performed it from the perspective of a gay man in a love triangle with a straight woman.
Listeners wonder if there’s any hope for the two to collaborate on original music. Parton has not made her response to the cover public, but she has publicly gushed about the rapper before.
Dolly Parton: ‘other roads to travel’ besides that ‘Old Town Road’
Parton shared that she had an opportunity to work with Lil Nas X previously. The country superstar said she was approached about a remix of his hit, “Old Town Road.”
She revealed that she decided against it, but only because other big names already worked on the song with the rapper. “It had done so well with so many people. I thought, ‘Well, I’ll wait and do something later on. No point in going down that same Old Town Road. We got other roads to travel,” she said at the time.
There’s no word yet on if Parton has even seen his cover of “Jolene,” but based on reactions so far, she’ll most likely approve when she does. In the meantime, fans can hope this will lead to a collaboration between the two sooner than later.
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