The road to Lil Nas X’s debut album “Montero” has been an exhilarating affair, with twists and turns like a chart-topping EP, “7”, jaw-dropping red carpet outfits, multiple awards and a series. viral music videos.
The Georgia-born rapper’s meteoric rise began with his track “Old Town Road” – released independently as a single in 2018 – which made the Billboard 100 and became a viral TikTok meme in the process. But the star’s music is only part of the story. Lil Nas X demonstrates a kind of festive and shameless homosexuality that the music industry is badly needed right now, and the culture more generally.
The resounding success of “Old Town Road” sparked interesting and important conversations about racial and country music. But after his June 2019 Twitter post celebrating His eerie identity, Nas’s dynamic rise has taken on a new purpose for his growing legion of fans – especially his LGBTQ listeners. In an industry still steeped in homophobia, transphobia, biphobia, and overall anti-LGBTQ attitudes, Lil Nas X is a bold symbol of freedom.
Nas is a disruptor, a track that took on new meaning when he started working on his debut album “Montero” in 2020, amid the Covid-19 pandemic and a broader fight against racial inequality .
“Creating this album was therapy for me,” Nas said in a Twitter message detailing his work on “Montero”. “I have learned to let go of controlling people’s perceptions of who I am, what I can do and where I will be. I realized that the only opinion of me that really matters is mine.
In an industry still steeped in homophobia, transphobia, biphobia, and overall anti-LGBTQ attitudes, Lil Nas X is a bold symbol of freedom.
The singer explores his search for self on tracks like “Sun Goes Down” – with his emotional lyrics that detail his own experience battling depression. But true to fashion, he always finds room to have fun in his self-discovery, with hard-hitting tracks like “Industry Baby” and “Montero (Call Me by Your Name)”. Their visuals give her a chance to continue pushing the comfort zone of popular culture, while also polishing up trolls who would love nothing more than to crush her confidence.
Equally dynamic has been the rollout of “Montero”, Nas creating a whimsical menagerie of unforgettable red carpet moments, live performances and videos that reflect the high energy of his current musical iteration.
In March, the artist released the video for “Montero (Call Me by Your Name)” both with fanfare and exhausting the hatred of public figures, fellow musicians and listeners. But her lap dance with the Devil turned out to be a perfectly choreographed conversation starter – with the video highlighting an intentional portrayal of often-hidden queer sexuality – specifically for black and brown artists of the hypermasculine and often anti-male hip-hop genre. -LGBTQ.
Nas kept that energy up with a performance at the BET Awards in June that combined choreography, a cast of gorgeous shirtless black men and a kiss with one of his backup dancers.
But that kind of trust took years to build, as Nas told Out Magazine in a post-performance interview. In this interview, he noted that while the preparation for the performance was initially scary, he eventually took the chance to truly display his truth. That he is also able to use his art to confront those who criticize his sexuality is a bonus.
“You all hate each other so much. You live all your lives trying your best to appease [people]. You are all uncomfortable with what I do because you are all afraid that they will be uncomfortable with you, “he said. tweeted in June in response to criticism of the performance. “Work on yourselves. I love who I am and whatever I decide to do. Go for it.”
Nas followed her performance at the BET Awards with the July release of her prison-themed video for “Industry Baby.” He performed a medley of “Industry Baby” and “Montero (Call Me By My Name)” at the MTV VMA Awards in September – with another cast of black and brown dancers and a dance break in the steamy shower. When he won the MTV VMA for Video of the Year, he triumphantly thanked the “gay agenda”. It was a direct hit on a ridiculous term that has long been used as a weapon against the LGBTQ community.
Nas was then stunned with three distinct looks while strutting the red carpet at the Met Gala, a trio that featured a luxurious cape detailed with gold beading, gold armor and a black and gold bodycon jumpsuit accessorized with a choker. in gold and a big boots.
To celebrate the album’s release, his team is releasing a series of eye-catching billboards this week that directly invoke and parody the anti-LGBTQ outrage that seems to follow the artist no matter what he does.
It seems Nas has found a way to scandalize his fuel, with poise and calculation using endless criticism to highlight how the LGBTQ community continues to be marginalized, silenced and underestimated. And for black homosexuals, its success is all the more important.
The most famous and visible queer voices in the music industry are usually white men, from legends like Boy George, Elton John and George Michael to more recent artists like Troye Sivan, Sam Smith, Clay Aiken, Lance Bass and Adam Lambert. So for Nas, a dark-skinned queer black man with good-looking, full features, gaining the traction and coverage he has over the past two years sets an important precedent.
Its impact is also being felt in the hip hop industry, which continues to be plagued by anti-LGBTQ attitudes – despite the fact that the black and brunette queer community has always supported hip hop artists. In a welcome departure from this historic stigma, Nas has garnered the support of hip-hop actors like Kid Cudi, who recently praised Nas for his attempts to “break” the “homophobic cloud over hip-hop” and s ‘is committed to doing all he can to’ stay with him ‘and’ do whatever I need to do to let him know – you have my support ‘.
Montero is Nas’s first name. So it’s only fitting that he named this album after himself, as it embodies such an inspiring and personal journey of self-love.
“I hope every corner of the world will be reached with this album,” he told People Magazine, adding that “It will happen!”
The infectious self-confidence and captivating artistry of Lil Nas X has taken him a long way – and his career is only just beginning. We can assume that the rapper will continue to influence pop culture through his zealous endorsement of the kind of freedom that comes when we prioritize, protect and speak our truth.