As an Atlanta native, reading Lil Nas X’s hilarious tweets and witnessing the success he has enjoyed as a result of his country-rap hit single “Old Town Road,” fills me with an unexpected feeling of kinship and satisfaction. Here in Atlanta it can feel as if wanting to be a rapper is some sort of rite of passage for black men—especially for creatives from low-income backgrounds. I personally know more black men independently pursuing music than I can count on both hands, and it’s a really beautiful form of artistic expression to be surrounded by.

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