Lil Nas X has collaborated with the likes of Billy Ray Cyrus, Keith Urban, BTS, and Young Thug. But there’s apparently one collaboration he would not have: Mayor Pete Buttigieg.
The crossover pop star responsible for the mega-hit “Old Town Road,” currently shattering records on the Billboard Hot 100, was the headlining act at a live variety show hosted by BuzzFeed in New York on Thursday evening.
The event, titled Internet Live, featured performances from Lil Nas X along with appearances from internet celebrities, Broadway singers, and the stars of Jersey Shore. At one point, BuzzFeed’s editor-in-chief Ben Smith sat down for an interview with New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio.
But the mayor wasn’t the only 2020 presidential candidate in talks to appear on the program.
The Daily Beast has learned that BuzzFeed was in talks to include Buttigieg, the openly gay South Bend mayor who has catapulted to notoriety and early success in the Democratic primary.
Buttigieg was pitched on a preliminary idea of appearing via video, reciting the lyrics to “Old Town Road” in some form of a collaboration with the surging pop star. But according to sources, the plan was foiled when Lil Nas X rejected the proposal.
The singer was not opposed to Buttigieg personally, sources said, but instead told BuzzFeed News that he did not want to be seen as endorsing a particular candidate in the race.
As a result, the sources said, the idea was dropped and Buttigieg did not participate in the event.
The 37-year-old mayor has said that he is a fan of the young rapper’s work and embraced his recent decision to come out as gay. “As a fan, I’m thrilled and inspired to see him standing in his truth as a member of the LGBTQ community,” Buttigieg tweeted. “Welcome to the family!”
While the top-tier 2020 Democratic candidate is a fan of Lil Nas X and his viral classic “Old Town Road,” it was Rep. Tim Ryan (D-OH), a longshot contender, who walked out to the song at a recent Iowa Democratic dinner.
Buttigieg has gotten props from other musicians, including members of indie-rock stalwarts Spoon, who complimented his piano rendition of their song “The Way We Get By.”
BuzzFeed and Buttigieg’s campaign declined to comment. Lil Nas X did not respond to requests for comment.