Lil Nas X doesn't mind "pissing people off."
The "INDUSTRY BABY" rapper, 22, was presented with the Innovator of the Year Award by friend and fellow musician Chloe Bailey at Variety's Hitmakers Brunch in Los Angeles on Saturday.
After a moving tribute from Bailey, 23, who described the musician as a "once in a generation" artist who has changed "the world for the better," Lil Nas X joked during his acceptance speech that he doesn't care who he offends with his music.
"It's been like a pretty crazy year," he said. "It's been a pretty fun year. I had a lot of fun pissing people off."
"I'm kidding," he added, before getting serious about the pressures he faced trying to top his 2019 smash "Old Town Road."
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"This year took a lot of mental strength for me just to even continue to keep pushing after my debut reached such a high place so, so quickly, and it's very scary to try to follow up and keep it going," explained the Grammy winner, whose real name is Montero Lamar Hill.
"But I came out. I was myself. I did what I needed to do," he continued. "I put effort into every single part of my career. And I'm super thankful for this award."
That same day, the rapper celebrated the three-year anniversary of his Grammy-winning duet with Billy Ray Cyrus. He marked the special day by sharing a carousel of photos on Instagram, writing, "old town road turns 3 years old today. everybody give it up for old town road."
The rapper, who dropped his debut album Montero in September, exclusively told PEOPLE that the project had very much been like a "baby" to him, after sporting a fake baby bump in photos and videos on social media in the month leading up to its release.
"I'm like a mother sending her child out into the world," he told PEOPLE at the time. "I'm super excited for everyone to hear this piece of art I've been working on for such a long time."
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Lil Nas X also revealed he "changed in so many ways," from when he first started working on the album.
"I've changed the way that I handle a lot of situations, the way I manage my sadness and anger and just understanding that I don't have to react to emotions in certain ways," he said. "I can't choose how I feel, but I can choose how to react. I've learned to let people's comments roll off my back."
"The only person that really has to believe in me is myself," he continued. "It's been a lot of self-affirmations this year that I probably would not have been able to do two years ago."