If fashion and music go hand in hand—and of course they do—then think of playlists like a wardrobe, personally curated and deeply reflective of the wearer’s lifestyle, outlook, and more. This particular one shows the diverse stylings and inspirations of American singer-songwriter and rapper Lil Nas X, musical director of the August 2021 issue of fashion magazine Harper’s Bazaar, which is producing a series of playlists with different musicians, available only on Apple Music.
After his viral single “Old Town Road” ingeniously blended country and rap to become one of the most popular singles of all time in 2019, it was hard to imagine how much higher Lil Nas X could go. But more recently, in the run-up to his debut full-length album MONTERO, he’s been breaking down bigger barriers with his videos and performances, unapologetically showcasing queer culture and sexuality in spaces that have traditionally been reserved for heteronormativity. It’s the kind of innovative, fearless line-pushing that with time and consistency can turn a star into that oft-overused word: icon. Which is the theme of this month’s issue of Harper's Bazaar.
“I’ve learned that what makes someone iconic is when they’re able to be 100 percent themselves,” Lil Nas X says. “I’ve broken down barriers just by existing.”
On this playlist, Lil Nas X has compiled tracks by contemporary artists he says are “shaping and molding” him. He included Phoenix’s “1901” for the nostalgia it evokes, “Fell in Luv” by Playboi Carti for its “unusual vocal inflections,” and “Rooting for My Baby” by Miley Cyrus—because you can’t make a playlist about icons and exclude her. “She’s an icon for much more than this song,” Lil Nas X explains. “She’s got a decade of hits and bops.”
With each issue of Harper’s Bazaar, we’ll launch a new playlist with picks by their latest musical director, so stay tuned.