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Macklemore praises Lil Nas X for LGBTQ+ representation: ‘He is phenomenal’

'He could have tried to hide, but he was himself,' said Macklemore.

By Nick Reilly

Macklemore and Lil Nas X (Picture: Alamy)

Macklemore has praised Lil Nas X for his openness and ability to tackle homophobia within hip-hop and rap.

The ‘Thrift Shop’ rapper, real name Ben Haggerty, famously discussed the subject – considered by many to be a lasting taboo within hip-hop – on his own 2012 track ‘Same Love’.

Lil Nas X, meanwhile, came out as gay in 2019 and has been praised for the way he has openly tackled the taboo within his own music. His 2021 album ‘Montero’ was defined by its title track, which explicitly explored gay romance.

Speaking to Rolling Stone UK last week, Macklemore said: “I love what Lil Nas X has done. He is phenomenal and a gift to the world.

“Being able to have a hit like ‘Old Town Road’ with millions of streams and then to suddenly tell the world about your sexuality. The strength that takes, when he could have easily tried to protect it.”

He added: “Look at what he managed to do there. He could have tried to hide, but he was himself, he was vulnerable and so many young kids are now going to feel more comfortable being who they truly are because of it. That’s the power of transparency when we share our truth. It allows others to do the same.”

Macklemore was speaking to Rolling Stone UK as he gears up to release his latest album Ben this Friday.

The powerful record sees the rapper take an introspective turn as he addresses how he experienced a relapse into drugs during the pandemic in 2020.

“It’s never my first knee jerk reaction to address that on the record,” he explained.

“My first knee jerk reaction is don’t tell anybod and then I have to go into why, who am I trying to protect? What am I trying to protect. So it’s myself, why am I trying to protect myself.”

He went on: “I know my truth, my truth is that I relapsed, I have to be comfortable with that in order to fully accept it. And I’m as sick as my secrets, if I am holding on to that because I want to save face or appear a certain way. That guilt and shame and secrecy could lead to another relapse and it could kill me”.

Now, he’s just excited to get back on the road.

“You know, the album would have come out sooner had it not been for Covid, I find imperative value of getting in front of people with new music and there was no certainty the touring was going to be happening for a large portion of time. It wasn’t happening or we’d have to factor how many people would be able to come to the shows and whether they’d need masks. mask etcetera would be canceled.

“What I love is getting in a room with other human beings and celebrating art. Creating an environment which leads to memories that they’ll never forget from a night that was made possible because of live music. That’s the real joy of touring for me.”