by Guillaume Laberge October 7, 2021

Lil Nas X’s ascension to fame was quite impressive

From sleeping on his sister’s floor to spending 19 weeks at the No. 1 spot on the Billboard’s Hot 100 Chart back in 2019 with the worldwide hit “Old Town Road,” Lil Nas X has certainly come a long way.

The promotional rollout for MONTERO was completely wild. With singles that did enormous numbers (the title track even topped the Billboard Hot 100), to “scandalous” music videos that sparked discussion in good (and bad) ways, it’s clear Lil Nas X is not afraid of being extra dramatic. Most notably, by acting pregnant on social media, with MONTERO being the baby he was expecting. Lil Nas X’s camp really played it well with the promotion of the record and it quickly became one of the most anticipated releases of the year.

On MONTERO, Lil Nas X blends the two genres he is most comfortable with, pop and hip hop, in a brilliant but distinctive way. The hip hop portion of the record seems to appear more at the top of the tracklist while the poppier section is more towards the bottom. While he executes both genres extremely well, his hip hop tracks hit more home than his pop tracks. Songs like “INDUSTRY BABY,” “DEAD RIGHT NOW,” and “DOLLA SIGN SLIME” are by far some of the best tracks on the record.

No matter what genre he’s working with, Lil Nas X always has an ear for a catchy chorus, and MONTERO features some of the most infectious hooks of the year. The artist also doesn’t back down from hopping on current trends in music. From a high use of horn-dominated instrumentals on hip hop tracks to even embarking on a pop-rock cut with “LOST IN THE CITADEL,” he knows how to exploit the trendier and fresher sounds of today in a more than profitable way. Although not as triumphant as some of the bangers on the first half, the more mellow second half is as enjoyable with smoother and sweeter tunes like “VOID” and “SUN GOES DOWN” showcasing Lil Nas X’s versatility and willingness to switch things up.

Being one of — if not the only openly gay and queer black man mainstream rapper — brings a breath of fresh air to the industry. Hip hop culture is often perceived as homophobic, so for a figure like Lil Nas X to rise so astronomically within it and proudly representing his genuine self is great to see. The industry has been in need of a figure like Lil Nas X for a very long time.

With his debut album MONTERO, Lil Nas X proves to the world that he is here to stay and that he is a force to be reckoned with among other mainstream artists. He has completely left behind the “One Hit Wonder” tag that was stuck with him.

Trial track : “INDUSTRY BABY”

Score: 7/10

Related Articles