Sir Elton John has praised Lil Nas X for causing a “seismic shift” in how the hip hop community should see gay people.
The 74-year-old Rocket Man singer worked with the US rapper, real name Montero Hill, on the track One Of Me, which featured on his acclaimed debut album.
Lil Nas X, 22, recently earned his third US number one with Industry Baby, while Sir Elton secured his ninth UK number one with Cold Heart, a collaboration with Dua Lipa.
The success made him the first solo artist to score a UK top 10 single in six different decades.
Speaking to Nihal Arthanayake on BBC Radio 5 Live, Sir Elton praised Lil Nas X, who is openly gay.
He said: “He’s a hurricane of fresh air. He’s a seismic shift in how the hip hop community must regard gay people.
“He’s got so much bravado and so much sense of humour and irony. He’s so intelligent with what he’s doing visually and lyrically and musically.
“It’s hard to not just take to him and watch him and think ‘Wow, where did this come from?’
“If you watch his videos, you see what a mind he has. He’s going to do so many great things and he has a visual future as well, maybe as a film-maker or a scriptwriter, because, when I have met him and spent time with him, he’s just so full of ideas.
“I love the fact that when somebody criticised him, he said ‘Haven’t you got anything better to do than criticise me? You’ve got people in your state suffering from Covid-19, look after them, don’t worry about me – I’m doing fine’.
“He’s a much-needed breath of fresh air. But there’s a lot of great gay artists making music and it’s good and it brings out the best in creativity from people who are gay. He is a leading example of how to do it.”
Lil Nas X shot to fame following the global success of the single Old Town Road in 2019.
He came out as gay later that year and has since been praised for the LGBT-positive lyrics in his music.
Sir Elton also spoke of his sadness at having to reschedule his Farewell Yellow Brick Road tour due to a hip injury requiring an operation.
“I’m a recovering alcoholic so everything that happens I have to accept, and I can’t really change it,” he said.
“The only thing I can change is to do something positive. Get it done now. I hate disappointing people and I hate cancelling shows.”