Whether she posts fake pregnancy pictures or faces controversy with eye-popping visuals, Lil Nass X’s expertise in viral marketing is unmatched. In some ways, however, music has felt like a next thought. His first album, “Montero,” Nass revised that supervision. He digs deep into the lyric, reveals his struggle for the loneliness and self-acceptance of homosexuals growing up, and spreads his wings according to the music. With the little help of famous friends including Elton John, Megan Thi Stallion, Doza Kat and Miley Cyrus, the 22-year-old splashes from hip-hop to pop, and even some wild guitar.
“Montero,” which is also the name of Nasser’s birth, when he gives us a glimpse of the man behind the mime. Raising a middle finger to friends of skepticism and fair weather, “Dead Now”, made an impressive leap of faith to get out of college and into music. Instead of bathing or bragging about the hip-hop trend, Nass reveals the real hurt to people who make mistakes. The moody “Tales of Dominica”, which boasts some of Dettrip’s best productions at Tech, finds the Grammy winner in full Sad Boy mode. “Finally growing up, I hope nothing like that will happen,” he sang in frustration. “I am myself, I am floating in the sea without seas.”
Nass is even more risky in “Sun Goes Down”, one of the album’s pre-release Buzz singles. “This gay thought always haunts me, I pray God will take it from me,” he announces deceptively exuberant, pop-swaying bits. “I don’t want to lie, I don’t want life.” The hitmaker reveals that money and fame have not removed those dark thoughts about “ineffectiveness”. Falling somewhere between Coldplay and Frank Ocean, it is one of the most experimental and desperately honest tracks on record. “It’s a lot of ups and downs on the ride,” Nass laments. “I’m not alone, I’m spending all the dark months stuck in life.”
For an artist who has conquered the rap world, Nass proves to be amazingly proficient in pop. Heartache and hooks rule the maximum on “this is what I want”, a toe with a huge radio appeal. “I need a boy who can hug me all night,” she begins before announcing that she’s ready for love in the chorus. “Late at night when it doesn’t feel right and it’s just me in my dreams,” he chanted over wild guitar and gippy synths, “so I want to love someone.” Equally effective is the ’80s-influenced “Lost in The Citadel.” Originally a breakup music, the song shows its soft side. “I need time to get up and get off the floor, I realize I can’t be yours,” he sang to an ex. “I need time to give up like before.”
Neonel compatibility is the central theme of “Don’t Want It” and “Life After Salem”. Not that “Montero” is necessarily going to be all that heavy. While Nass tackles meaningful issues, sharing his inner turmoil, he equally concentrates on streaming-friendly bangers. The lead single “Montero (Call Me Your Name)”, which is one of the most brutal chart-toppers of all time, is the ultimate ear bug on the album, but a few collaborations give it a run for its money. Co-produced by Kanye West and with Jack Harlow, “Industry Baby” has its own, such as Doza Cat-assisted “Scoop”. With its instant chorus and hook litani, it is a safe bet for future unmarried.
“Dollar Sign Slim”, a collaboration with Megan Thi Stallion, is not quite interesting, but the clear, sex-positive songs make it a major candidate for the breakout star’s most winning viral videos. Notably, Tamar is the “One of Me”, which boasts a cameo from Elton John – albeit as a pianist. Previewed on her Instagram page in 2019, Melodic Binger hasn’t lost its crossover appeal since it took its instrument Elton Assist. And as Nass grows up with Billy Ray Cyrus’ “Old Town Road” remix, Miley Cyrus has a delightful symmetry for closing “Montero” with a characteristic look of “What I’m Dreaming”. Their voices are admirably grouped together in folk-risky ditty, but it feels more like a diary entry than a potential single.
With his ritual-extended approach and a fresh search for love and loneliness, Nass reminds us that he is a musical instrument that should be counted. Perhaps more importantly, “Montero” indicates that the rapper is ready to give voice to the fears and aspirations of a generation of queer kids.