Lil Nas X isn’t due for five more days (his “baby” and debut album, Montero drops on September 17th), but the rule-breaking artist ditched his pregnancy belly for the MTV Video Music Awards Red Carpet on Sunday night. Instead, the parent-to-be opted to make a statement with his wardrobe instead, showing up to the event in a custom Versace look styled by Hodo Musa that pays homage to a few artists that came before him.
The “Industry Baby” singer seems to be channeling Lil’ Kim in a major way. His rhinestoned blazer with an asymmetrical train and matching pants is almost the exact color of Lil Kim’s iconic custom Misa Hylton look from the awards show in 1999. Plus, the exposed shoulder of Nas’ top mirrors the exposed left breast that made Lil’ Kim’s look so iconic.
But the references don’t end there. From the neck up, thanks to his long curls and facial hair, Nas resembles another music great: rock pioneer Little Richard. The similarities between Nas and Little Richard, though, are more than just superficial. Much like Little Richard did throughout his decades-long career, Nas is constantly pushing the boundaries of what American audiences can handle. And while the late musician had a complicated relationship with his sexuality because of his Christian background, he did break barriers for Black gay men in the music industry. Because of that, it seems fitting that Nas, who famously made out with one of his male dancers during his performance at the BET Music Awards in June, would pay tribute to these two music greats with his look tonight.