Lil Nas X's Biggest Moments of 2021 (So Far), Ahead of His VMAs Performance This Weekend

The 22-year-old has mastered viral moments, hit major milestones, released chart-topping music and more 

01 of 13

Becoming a New York Times Bestselling Author

Lil Nas X - C is for Country
David Crotty/Patrick McMullan via Getty; Random House Children’s Books

Lil Nas X kicked off 2021 as a New York Times bestseller with his children's book, C Is for Country. According to Random House Kids' official website, the book tells the story of an animated Lil Nas X and Panini the pony "on a joyous journey through the alphabet from sunup to sundown." C Is for Country is geared toward little ones who are ages 3 to 7.

02 of 13

Narrating a Super Bowl Commercial

As his "(Montero) Call Me By Your Name" track played in the background, Lil Nas X narrated a Logitech commercial that played during Super Bowl LV.

03 of 13

Buying His First Home

Lil Nas X buys a new home 3/5/21
Lil Nax X/Instagram

Homeowner at 21 is another impressive add to his outstanding résumé. The star shared the news on Instagram in March alongside a collection of photos of his new digs.

04 of 13

Releasing His Video for 'Montero'

In March, the artist dropped his music video for "Montero (Call Me By Your Name)," which received its fair share of praise (and backlash). The music video has more than 343 million views as of September, and became his second No. 1 song on the Billboard Hot 100.

05 of 13

Performing on Saturday Night Live

SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE -- "Anya Taylor-Joy" Episode 1805 -- Pictured: (l-r) Musical guest Lil Nas X, host Anya Taylor-Joy, and Chris Redd during Promos in Studio 8H on Thursday, May 20, 2021
Will Heath/NBC

Alongside first-time host Anya Taylor-Joy, Nas X put on his first live performances of "Montero (Call Me by Your Name)" and "Sun Goes Down" during his Saturday Night Live debut in May. The star opened up about his experience, including how he dealt with his wardrobe malfunction while performing "Montero."

"at first i was afraid to even perform. then we rehearsed for 2 weeks, then all of the dancers got removed because one had covid and new ones had to learn the routine in 24 hours, and then i ended up ripping my pants and couldn't finish," he tweeted. "everything happens for a reason tho lol"

06 of 13

Buying His First Car

It's a milestone moment for anyone to purchase their very own car for the first time. Nas X shared his new wheels on Instagram, captioning his series of photos with a crying face and heart emoji.

07 of 13

Releasing 'Industry Baby' Featuring Jack Harlow

Lil Nas X Dances Nude in Music Video for New Song 'Industry Baby' Featuring Jack Harlow
Lil Nas X in his "Industry Baby" music video. lil nas x/ youtube

Nas X bared it all in his music video for "Industry Baby," which now boasts upwards of 110 million views. The song features rapper Jack Harlow and was produced by Kanye West.

In the video, Nas X ditches his pink jumpsuit and dances alongside several other nude men in a prison shower (with genitalia blurred out). Jason Momoa makes a cameo in a workout scene, and Harlow later smuggles tools into the rapper's cell to help him escape.

08 of 13

Finding 'The One'

Lil Nas X
Lil Nas X. Paras Griffin/Getty

In October 2020, the star revealed that he was dating but this August, said that he had found "someone special" that could be "the one."

"I've had some good boyfriends and some bad ones. A lot of them were emotionally unavailable or had a lot of insecurity and whatnot," he told Variety. "I've found someone special now. I think this is the one. I can't explain it — it's just a feeling."

He told VMan magazine later that month that he and his current boyfriend met "around the time" of his Saturday Night Live performance in May, and that they "just started dating maybe two weeks ago."

"I feel like this is one of the best [relationships] yet," he told the outlet. "I'm really happy about it, and it all just feels natural. It's effortless."

09 of 13

Partnering with Taco Bell

Lil Nas X - Sun Goes Down
Lil Nas X/YouTube

In August, Nas X took on a new role at Taco Bell, where he worked his first job as a teenager. The fast food chain chose the star to be its chief impact officer, an honorary title that allows them to team up on an exclusive experience around his upcoming debut album Montero.

He shared the news on Aug. 23 on Twitter, writing, "Life has come full circle, I officially work at Taco Bell again." With the new position, Taco Bell has also adopted "Live Nas" as a new spin on their motto. The star also partnered with the Taco Bell Foundation, announcing awards to the recipients of the Live Más scholarship. A total of $7 million was awarded to 725 students in 2021.

10 of 13

Being Honored by The Trevor Project

Lil Nas X
Courtesy Sony Music

The Trevor Project — the largest organization focused on suicide prevention among LGBTQ youth — announced in September that Nas X is the recipient of its first-ever Suicide Prevention Advocate of the Year Award.

"Discrimination around sexuality and gender identity is still very real, and our community deserves to feel supported and totally free to be themselves," he said in a press release, thanking the organization. "I often get messages from fans telling me about their struggles with depression and suicidal thoughts, and it made me realize that this was something bigger than myself."

"If using my voice and expressing myself in my music can help even one kid out there who feels alone, then it was all worth it," he added.

11 of 13

Announcing His Debut Album Montero

Lil Nas X
Lil Nas X. Adrian Per

Nas X announced that his debut album Montero will drop on Sept. 17 and will feature collaborations with Elton John, Megan Thee Stallion, Doja Cat, Jack Harlow and Miley Cyrus. He paired his album announcement with an over-the-top maternity shoot, complete with a bump and flower crown.

"SURPRISE! I can't believe i'm finally announcing this. My little bundle of joy 'MONTERO' is due September 17, 2021 🦋💕," he captioned photos from the shoot.

The star said the idea came from a conversation with his stylist who joked that his album was his baby and that he "should do a pregnancy shoot," he told PEOPLE in September.

"I was like, 'You know what? That's actually brilliant,'" he said. "So now we have this entire thing coming out, and it's going to be amazing."

12 of 13

Partnering with Elton John

Elton John and lil nas x
Uber Eats

In addition to working with Sir Elton on his album, Lil Nas X and the music legend teamed up for a new Uber Eats campaign dropping in September. The two channeled each other in iconic outfits from big moments passed, bringing the laughs in their short spots.

13 of 13

Performing at the 2021 VMAs

Olivia Rodrigo, Machine Gun Kelly, Lil Nas X, Camila Cabello and Lorde
JMEnternational for BRIT Awards/Getty; Stephane Cardinale - Corbis/Corbis via Getty; Paras Griffin/Getty; Lia Toby/PA Images via Getty; Steve Granitz/Getty

The biggest stars in music are set to perform at this year's MTV Video Music Awards, including Nas X. Not only is he performing alongside Olivia Rodrigo, Machine Gun Kelly and Camila Cabello, but he's also up for video of the year — the top prize of the night — for his "Montero (Call Me By Your Name)" music video, in addition to four other awards.

The MTV VMAs are set to air live from New York City on Sept. 12.

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