Like a burst of fireworks fired against the waterline of the old heteronormative structures of global music, this is how the new star Lil Nas X has landed with “Montero”, a LGTBIq allegation that is also a huge and proud combination of hip hop. and pop.
Between confrontations with giants of the textile industry such as Nike, simulated births, scenes of homosexual sex in his video clips (even with the devil) or monopolizing red carpets like the one at the MET with changing rooms that vindicate the fluid gender, none of the movements of this young man America has gone unnoticed in recent months.
With wickers like this (and a pre-musical past as a successful “tweeter” that confirms that he knows how to warm up the spirits) it is not surprising that the media apparatus has ended up turning to Montero Lamar Hill (Atlanta, 1999) in the same way that they did in his day with Lady Gaga or Lana del Rey.
His debut album was one of the most anticipated releases of the pre-Christmas season, but it remained to be seen if the rest of the cuts in his repertoire were up to the level of that “Old Town Road” with which in 2019 he broke through the back door.
The song, which featured Billy Ray Cyrus, earned him two Grammy Awards and the longest-running No. 1 to date in US history by beating “Despacito” at 19 weeks at the top. In addition, it allowed him to penetrate into two traditionally conservative (and often homophobic) fields such as “country” and rap.
Very shortly after Lil Nas X made public his status as a homosexual, first in a subtle way, by means of the rainbow symbol and inviting his followers to listen to the song “C7osure (You Like)”, about the search for freedom, to break into continuation like an earthquake with its video clips and public appearances.
Music and social discourse have become indistinguishable parts of his proposal to shake the foundations of a society that, from the premise of “politically correct”, believed that all prejudices against homosexuals had already been overcome. Nothing is further from reality.
In “Montero” (Call Me By Your Name) “, recent MTV award for video of the year and captivating first single from this album released in March, Lil Nas X dances naked around a pole dance bar as he falls from the sky to the Hell, where he seduces the devil himself Some conservative politicians saw in this a promotion of Satanism.
The controversy returned when last summer he released the video for his next single, “Industry Baby”, produced by Kanye West, in which he offered his personal and erotic version of a prison in pink uniforms in which he dances naked (with pixelated genitalia ) with several men. Nothing that had not already been seen in the field of pop or hip hop (but surrounded by women) without raising so much grief.
“It seems that you only respect gay artists when the gay part is hidden. You don’t like me because I embrace my sexuality instead of hiding it for your comfort,” he argued in his networks, recalling that many other homosexual artists of the past had to embrace heteronormative canons during their careers, but that he wasn’t going to go through that hoop.
From that premise this Friday he released a battery of songs that talk about fleeing, but that only run forward, like the single “That’s What I Want”, in which he once again reaches into a conservative world, that of American football, to star in a story of passion and love between costumes and places that pay homage to the movie “Brokeback Mountain”.
On the basis of the no less famous “Hey Ya!” From the duo Outkast, it is a fun and unprejudiced cut like the rest of the album when it comes to combining genres, which has allowed him to recruit an overwhelming roster of allies: Miley Cyrus (following in her father’s footsteps a few years ago), rappers Megan Thee Stallion and Jack Harlow, the new promise Doja Cat and the living legend of Elton John.
With 15 tracks that go by like an exhalation, notably “Sun Goes Down” or “Tales of Dominica”, the vast majority of critics have agreed that the melodic and arrangement fabric of the album is so solid that it deserves a notable and / or outstanding, even if there was no such breakthrough speech that in a hip hop song allows him to proclaim out loud: “I’m a fag.”
His ability to sing as well as to rap also enables him to broaden the stylistic range to R&B, soul and even to flirt with rock on songs like “Life After Salem”, one of the most melancholic on the album. all in the second part, where “Void” recalls the fight against his sexuality and parental rejection and where “Am I Dreaming?” it offers an uncompromising finish to the bunting.
Despite everything, or precisely because of this, it is a “therapeutic” album, and this is what its own author indicated: “I have learned to stop trying to control people’s perception of who I am, what I can do and where I will be. I’ve come to realize that the only opinion about me that really matters is my own. ”
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Lil Nas X’s “Montero”: A Proud Eulogy of Explosive Hip Hop and Pop