In this week's issue, the Grammy-winning rapper and star of the new Doritos commercial opens up about his meteoric rise and revealing his sexuality

By Janine Rubenstein
February 05, 2020 12:11 PM

Besides his name, there was nothing little about Lil Nas X last year.

Back in early 2019, the rapper (born Montero Lamar Hill) was sleeping on a relative’s couch and dreaming of his next move.

“My only vision was to make it out of where I was as quick as possible,” the 20-year-old Georgia native tells PEOPLE in this week’s issue. “I didn’t know what that would look like.”

Now, it’s hard to imagine a world without his hip-hop-and-country-blending smash hit “Old Town Road”,  which landed him two Grammys last month and a hit new commercial with Doritos that aired during last weekend’s Super Bowl.

RELATED: Watch Lil Nas X Win a Dance-Off Against Sam Elliott in Doritos’ Super Bowl 2020 Commercial

“It feels amazing,” says the Georgia native, 20, of his runaway success.

Ben Trivett

On top of breaking out with a record-breaking song, Lil Nas X garnered additional attention last summer when he came out as gay on social media. Though it’s a move he’s proud of, he admits that sharing his sexuality with the world did come with some apprehension.

RELATED: Lil Nas X Says as a Teenager He Prayed Being Gay Was Just a Phase That ‘Would Go Away’

“There’s always that fear that something will overshadow your career,” says the rapper, who went on to release his hit follow-up single “Panini” and is currently working on his new album. “But it’s all depending on what you decide to do. So you just work harder to make sure that it doesn’t and just keep going I guess.”

Ellen/YouTube

Of the support he’s received from fans, including stars like Ellen Degeneres, Nas X couldn’t be happier. “It was pretty incredible,” he says of Degeneres calling him an “inspiration” as she introduced his Grammys performance. “She’s super cool.”

Another Hollywood heavyweight he counts as a friend these days: veteran actor Sam Elliott. The two star alongside each other in the new Doritos commercial and hit it off.

“Meeting Sam was dope. He gave me great advice and said nice things. And his mustache wave was my favorite part of the commercial.”

As for what’s next, the rapper says he’s got some big plans for 2020.

“This special year, I want to have my album out and a lot of music videos and I want to do a lot of things in the fashion world. On the personal side, I’m going to work on controlling my emotions better.”

At least the young star’s already proven that anything can happen.

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