The Secret to Lil Nas X peaking at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100

Figure 1: Lil Nas X announced pregnancy of his upcoming album on social media

Picture this: a rapper posts a picture of him boring a child on Instagram, announcing the pregnancy of his upcoming album. How would you perceive the picture? It might sound absurd and outrageous, but this is how Lil Nas X, a famous American rapper and singer, leaves a profound impression on audiences amid a series of controversies. As a marketing genius, Lil Nas X is well-known for his creatively executed marketing tactics, that catapult him into spotlight and weave his unceasing success.

To start with, everything about Lil Nas X is viral. If you peek inside his single “Montero” debut, you will find him twerking in ecstasy upon the arrival of Satan. His content is so provocative that it sparks millions of discourse on social media, garnering more and more views for his video. Not only does the content itself create a buzz on social media, but Lil Nas X himself, as a heavy social media user, captures millions’ attention through proactive engagement in social media discourse. For instance, he posts funny videos and memes on Twitter, Instagram, TikTok etc, meanwhile transforming basic tweets into lucrative marketing content and viral trends (as reflected in images upwards). His social media presence is everlasting, creating rows of threads that keeps him in vogue.


Besides, his deft use of backlashes is another thing to be talked about. Although Lil Nas X’s bold and liberal expression often caught him in all kinds of controversies, he is good at making use of these backlashes as part of his marketing plan, which can be embodied in his previous song “Montero”. His song had received immense backlash from religious communities and parents, as many considered the picture of a black rapper twerking on Satan inappropriate. Lil Nas X was even entangled in the lawsuit filed by Nike because of launching a controversial pair of Satan shoes which claimed to contain a drop of real human blood.  Usually, many may choose to wait until the crisis dies down. Instead of sitting on the high horse by ignoring those outrages, Lil Nas X replied to the criticisms swiftly in a mocking tone to defend himself. Like he created a pole-dancing challenge on TikTok, and recorded a 46-second-long fake apology video, to show his defiance towards his conservative haters. These acts somehow induce further upsurge around his songs, bringing about more opportunities that pave the road for his fame.

Figure 2,3: Lil Nas X’s popular tweets

Figure 4,5: controversies incurred by Lil Nas X

Even though you are not a fan of Lil Nas X, you will occasionally brush past his captivating marketing content. The success of Lil Nas X’s marketing strategies lie in his active social media engagement and creativity, for his content being able to intrigue the audiences while constructing a down-to-earth image for himself. He is a valuable reference for all, showing how controversies can work out in a positive way, and showing the importance of two-sided interaction in times of new era.