Lil Nas X is influencing a new era in music, and TIME is recognizing him with their latest TIME 100 list.
The "Montero (Call Me by Your Name)" rapper has been honored as one of the most influential people of the year. For the annual lists, an industry peer typically delivers the accolades for each honoree. Kid Cudi was chosen to pay homage to his rap successor.
The "Man on the Moon" artist applauded the "Industry Baby" rapper for always "being true" to himself.
"What he's doing is what we need right now," Cudi wrote of Lil Nas X. "To have a gay man in hip-hop doing his thing, crushing records — that is huge for us and for Black excellence. The way he's unafraid to make people uncomfortable is so rock 'n' roll. He's a true rock star."
He went on to say the young rapper has the power to dismantle homophobia in the hip-hop industry.
"There’s a homophobic cloud over hip-hop, and he’s going to break that s**t down," he wrote of the artist who's almost as famous for his hilarious clapbacks to anti-gay trolls as he is for his music. "We have to stand with him. I’m going to do whatever I have to do to let him know — you have my support. When we do our song together, however trippy the video is, let’s get sexy with it."
But Cudi is also no stranger to shaking things up in hip-hop. The artist has long been open about his struggles with mental health in his music.
In the "Wounds" track, which appears on his sixth studio album, Passion, Pain, and Death Slayin', Cudi opens up about feeling psychologically tormented.
"We all have times when we weep/It’s a troubled life, traumatized psychologically/I pray in the shadows when I’m speakin' to no one/Myself, did everything right, didn’t I? So why aren’t I whole?" the artist raps.
In an exclusive interview with People last year, the Cleveland native opened up about overcoming depression and anxiety.
"I knew I deserved peace and to be happy, but I didn’t know how," he tells the outlet. "It took me a while to get to this place of commitment, to say I'm gonna get through this. To know that we can take our pain and turn it into something."
The "Day 'n' Nite" rapper also pushes gender boundaries. During a Saturday Night Live episode, he performed in a dress while paying homage to the late Kurt Cobain. He's also been seen rocking nail polish.
In addition to appearing on the esteemed TIME list, Lil Nas X had quite the successful week. The 22-year-old won big at the 2021 MTV VMA Awards, winning Video of the Year for his second No. 1 hit, "Montero (Call Me by Your Name)." The Trevor Project also awarded the rising star its inaugural Suicide Prevention Advocate of the Year award earlier this month.