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I can’t pretend I know what’s going on in the mind of Lil Nas X. I don’t know, for instance, how he as feeling when he slipped a lace-covered arm into the sleeve of his shimmering silver jacket before hitting the red carpet for the 2019 MTV Video Music Awards. I cannot fathom his mental state as his lifted a gleaming leg to slide his foot into a pair of metallic cowboy boots (also, of course, silver).
But I tell you what I’m thinking when I look at him, and that’s this: I’m getting some serious Prince vibes right now.
Now, clearly Lil Nas X hasn’t abandoned his yeehaw ways. The cropped jacket, the abundance of what may very well be rhinestones, the bootcut trousers? These all recall the famous Nudie suits (designed by tailor Nudie Cohn) that helped define the look of an entire era of country.
But think of it another way. The tight, stage-ready tailoring? The sparkle? The ruffles? These were also hallmarks of The Purple One. If Lil Nas X suddenly reveals that he can absolutely shred a guitar while delivering a soul-affirming falsetto when he performs tonight? Well, I’d be surprised. But the outfit would work.
Of course, let’s also remember that pop music of all genres sees an incredible amount of stylistic back-and-forth, whether we’re talking about the songs themselves or the clothes the people performing them wear. This might be a case of my eye simply seeing what it wants to see. In any instance, I’m going to go listen to “Little Red Corvette.” Then maybe I’ll hoof it back to the Old Town Road.