Lil Nas X makes Grammy history as the first openly gay rapper nominated in top categories

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11/21/2019

Last week Lil Nas X made history when his earworm of a hit “Old Town Road” nabbed a Country Music Assn. award, making him the first openly gay black male to do so. Yet “Old Town Road” — which spent much of the year as the No. 1 song in the country — wasn’t awarded in any major category at the CMAs. Instead, it was relegated to musical event of the year. Lil Nas X’s CMA win made it clear that although Nashville couldn’t ignore the record-breaking success of the country-rap anthem, which featured “Achy Breaky Heart” singer Billy Ray Cyrus, it didn’t see the song as more than a musical meme. That hand-wringing over genre and where the 20-year-old Atlanta rapper and singer — born Montero Lamar Hill — fits in the conversation of rap and country was largely an afterthought for the Recording Academy, which rewarded Hill with a bounty of Grammy nominations early Wednesday morning.

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