'Old Town Road' Rapper Lil Nas X Remixes the ABCs in Adorable New Kids Book
The 21-year-old famous for blending country and rap shocked his fans with the announcement about his new project—a picture book for 3- to 7-year-olds. C Is for Country follows a day in the life of Lil Nas X and Panini the Pony, an ode to his 2019 song “Panini.” What each letter represents is as eclectic as the artist himself (“F is for fringe, feathers, and fake fur”), and some deliver messages all kids should hear. (“Y is for y’all. We’ve got love for everybody, no matter who you are, where you’re from, and what you look like.”) Parents asked the crossover star about giving the kid-lit genre a try.
Why did you write a children’s book?
“I’ve always loved reading and was at the top of my class as a child, so writing my own book really appealed to me. I also thought how cool it would be to create something my little nieces and nephews could learn from. Using books that combine education with things in pop culture that kids love is a good way to make reading much more enjoyable. My song ‘Old Town Road’ is loved among kids, so using that and ‘Panini’ as a way to help them learn the alphabet will hopefully make it way more interesting and fun.”
We’ve heard that the story contains Easter eggs for your grown-up fans. Can you give us a hint?
“The book’s artist, Theodore Taylor III, drew one of my trophies in the stars. Also, pay close attention to my outfits. You may recognize a few!”
What childhood books have stuck with you?
“When I was much younger, I remember having Dr. Seuss books at home. I loved the characters and how colorful the books were. When I got a little older, I would also go to the library often and check out lots of books about outer space. Space exploration is still super-fascinating to me.”
Have any books influenced your songwriting?
“I tend to write from my personal experiences and perspective. But the books I’ve been reading lately have been helpful in changing my outlook on life and having the right mindset when dealing with everything that comes my way. I’ve recently finished The Pocket Pema Chödrön, by Pema Chödrön; The Alchemist, by Paulo Coelho; The Four Agreements, by Don Miguel Ruiz; and The Rose Effect, by my friend KJ Rose. KJ’s amazing book taught me The Push Through Method, which basically says no matter what situation you’re in, push through and move forward. I used to sit in the misery of a mistake that I made or something that didn’t go the way I’d planned. It wasn’t helping and it wasn’t healthy. The book has inspired me to use each moment and opportunity, no matter how big or small, to its greatest advantage, because you never know where it’s going to take you. For example, I had a performance at an elementary school last year, and it ended up being one of my biggest and most impactful shows.”
This article originally appeared in Parents magazine's January 2021 issue as “Lil Nas X Remixes the ABCs.” Want more from the magazine? Sign up for a monthly print subscription here