Lil Nas X’s Dad is Featured on His ‘Montero’ Album

Lil Nas X has only been a mainstream figure in music for a few short years, but he’s grown up in many ways in the spotlight. He came out as gay in 2019 and largely kept his personal life private. But on his 2021 debut album Montero, the Grammy-winning rapper opened up about his emotions in ways he never had before.

Lil Nas X poses backstage at the 2020 Billboard Music Awards
Lil Nas X | Amy Sussman/BBMA2020/Getty Images for dcp

Lil Nas X sings about his dad on his song ‘Dead Right Now’

Lil Nas explores a wide variety of emotions throughout Montero. One of the most brutally honest songs on the project is the second track, “Dead Right Now.”

“Dead Right Now” references different things other people in the music industry have done or said to him since he first burst onto the scene with “Old Town Road” in 2019. It also chronicles his rise to the top — and the low point that Lil Nas first started out from.

“2018, I was at my sister house the whole summer / Songs wasn’t doin’ numbers / whole life was goin’ under,” he rapped. “Left school, then my dad and I had a face-to-face in Atlanta / He said, ‘It’s one-in-a-million chance, son,’ I told him, ‘Daddy, I am that one.'”

Lil Nas X attends The 2021 Met Gala Celebrating In America: A Lexicon Of Fashion at Metropolitan Museum of Art on September 13, 2021, in New York City.
Lil Nas X attends The 2021 Met Gala Celebrating In America: A Lexicon Of Fashion at Metropolitan Museum of Art on September 13, 2021, in New York City. | Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic

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Lil Nas X’s dad is on ‘Dead Right Now’

In an interview on The Zach Sang Show, Lil Nas confirmed that the lyrics were based on a real conversation he had with his father. He had just dropped out of college and decided to pursue music full-time. Ultimately, of course, his career choice ended up working out.

“That was an actual conversation,” he said. “I can vividly remember [it] … I think I was cleaning out the tub or something and then my dad came in and he was talking to me about how I just started doing music. And he was like ‘What about school? You need to make sure you’re getting that [education].'”

“He was like, ‘Are you sure you want to do that? That’s a one-in-a-million chance kind of thing,'” he said. “I was like, ‘I’m that one. I feel it; I feel like I’m that one.'”

He added that his dad today now sees him as that one — so much so that he even contributed background vocals to the track. He sings on the parts of the song that include a choir singing the word “Hallelujah,” as well as some ad-libs in the final chorus.

US rapper Lil Nas X arrives for the 62nd Annual Grammy Awards on January 26, 2020,
Lil Nas X | Valerie Macon/AFP via Getty Images

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Lil Nas X’s dad is a gospel singer

Getting to be on a song with his son wasn’t Lil Nas’ father’s introduction to the music world. Robert Stafford — known professionally as R.L. Stafford — is a gospel singer with a career of his own.

In 2018, after Lil Nas released his debut mixtape Naserati, Stafford was making his own music moves. He released the album One Man, One Mic, One God, which included a variety of gospel and worship songs.