Lil Nas X Covers LGBTQ+ Ally Dolly Parton's Signature Song

by Kilian Melloy

EDGE Staff Reporter

Thursday September 23, 2021
Originally published on September 23, 2021

Out hip-hop artist Lil Nas X may have a new hit on his hands with a rendition of "Jolene," a 1973 single by Dolly Parton that is something of a signature song for the longtime LGBTQ+ ally.

Starting out quietly, the cover, which runs less than two minutes, has Lil Nas X pleading with a beauty — just as Parton did in her original version — "Please don't take my man."

"Performing in BBC Radio 1's 'Live Lounge' to celebrate his new album 'Montero,' Nas sang a soulful rendition of Parton's 1973 hit, putting his own spin on the song with the aid of a small band and a sequined microphone," Entertainment Weekly reported.

"And although his performance came as a surprise to most, the singer stealthily hinted the performance earlier this week, writing on Twitter 'I now have a song with Billy Ray Cyrus and Miley Cyrus, I will not rest until I've collected every Cyrus stone to harness the ultimate power.'"

The tweet was a reference to how the out artist found crossover success with his country rap song "Old Town Road [Remix]," a duet with Billy Ray Cyrus. His debut album, "Montero," features a number of guest artists, including Miley Cyrus. The connection to Parton? She's "Miley Cyrus' godmother, for those not in the know," EW explained.

"So, does this mean that we can expect a future Nas/Parton collaboration — something fans have been asking for — in the future?" EW wondered. "Nas covering 'Jolene' is certainly a step in the right direction, and the country icon has made it no secret that she's a fan of his work."

EW quoted Parton from an interview with Elle in 2019, in which the country legend revealed she had considered collaborating with Lil Nas X on "Old Town Road," but, she said, "It had done so well with so many people. I thought, 'Well, I'll wait and do something later on.... We got other roads to travel.'"

Watch Lil Nas X covering "Jolene" in the video below.

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Associate Arts Editor and Staff Contributor. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.