MONTERO by Lil Nas X: “A very powerful message”

Hot off the release of several chart-topping singles, Lil Nas X released his debut album on Friday and has continued to break the boundaries in the rap community. 

The self-titled album ‘MONTERO’, which has been in the works for quite some time, was described as a “form of therapy” for the Georgia born rapper. The artist has claimed to be an outcast ever since his sudden rise to fame, yet continues to dominate the music industry, and reach peak sales and rake in awards. Having manipulated the TikTok marketing space, his single releases in the build to the album have performed amazingly in terms of streams and chart placement, and has arguably solidified Lil Nas X as one of the biggest musicians from the late 2010’s 

The album has been written as a representation of his life and touches on all the issues that he has experienced as one of the biggest openly gay rappers. Alongside this he continues to encourage a more gay friendly environment for rap stars and keeps pushing the industry into a more accepting state. With amazing production quality and a bouncy and fun choice of beats the album is a joy to listen to. Lil Nas X has managed to tell his whole life story in a way that makes people want to listen and opened up in a way which we haven’t seen before. For example, on tracks such as ‘DEAD RIGHT NOW’ he touches on his experiences with suicidal thoughts before his music career and how he was able to cope with them.

The singer/rapper has always been able to standout from the crowd, whether that is event costumes or online concerts he continues to break boundaries and redesign the idea of a ‘rapper’ and the album portrays this also. He has opted for a minimal feature list to show everyone that he belongs here and doesn’t need anyone else to support him. A very powerful message from an album that comes from the heart. Despite this, there are a couple things which I think have stunted this album from being a 10/10. The songs were all relatively short, and for me, it left me wanting more after every track. On top of this a lot of the beats sounded the same and while at first, I did enjoy the trumpet/bass mix, it began to get a bit repetitive towards the end of the project. 

Lil Nas X at the BET Awards 2021

Despite minimal features, for the most part they were all enjoyable and definitely were the right choice for the album. The Jack Harlow feature was by far my favourite and accentuated the sleek flows and clever rhymes that we have grown to love from Harlow. It was amazing to see Lil Nas X working alongside Elton John and the track they produced sends a statement of acceptance to the rest of the industry. Miley Cyrus provided some strong vocals and fit well on the track, like she always does and Megan Thee Stallion once again came through with a well-balanced and hard hitting verse. The only feature I wasn’t a fan of was the Doja Cat one, and to be honest I didn’t really enjoy the track ‘SCOOP’ at all. The hook wasn’t catchy, and the lyrics were meaningless. Doja’s verse was underwhelming and frankly disappointing considering how well she has been doing this year. 

The album is very well rounded and a pleasure to the ears. Despite my small criticisms Lil Nas X has outdone himself and has once again put himself in contention for album of the year. He has opened up a considerable amount more than on his previous EP ‘7” and continues to become everyone’s favourite personality. 

Overall, I would give this album a 9/10.

Written by Joe Bell

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