Album Review: Montero

Graphic by Rivy

Graphic by Rivy

Julian Knapp, Staff Reporter, Sophomore

American rapper and singer Lil Nas X dropped his new album ‘Montero’ on September 17, 2021. The album was highly anticipated, listeners expecting greatness since the viral hit sensation “Old Town Road”  broke records in 2018.

At the age of 22, after the wild success of “Old Town Road,” Lil Nas X (whose real name is Montero Lamar Hill), came out publicly as a gay man. His new album reflects that identity, embracing and celebrating it as well as challenging stereotypes with explicit lyrics and music videos that are intended to shock. The song “Montero,” which was released this past summer, stands out as a calling out of every stereotype against a gay man’s life. Lil Nas X puts his sexual desire front and center, daring anyone to tell him to be closeted. After “Montero” made waves this summer, he continued to shock people with his next release, with his music and video for the song “Industry Baby,” featuring rapper Jack Harlow.

The album features a variety of collaborations with other artists, including a song with Elton John called “One of Me” which is about how everyone supposed he would only stay popular from “Old Town Road,” and would never become more successful. Another song called “Scoop” featuring Doja Cat, is currently one of his most popular songs and is all about celebrating his body. Nas also collaborated on this album with Megan Thee Stallion, an American rapper. In this song, “Dolla Sign Slime,” they both sing about their wealth and success contrasting themselves to their rivals who have not achieved the same status. 

On the flip side of lyrics that sort of brag about success, are lyrics that show vulnerability and struggles. The song “Am I Dreaming,” where he collaborates with Miley Cyrus, is about how they faced their lives as young LGBTQ figures in show business. In some ways this can also be a very introspective album, and what it reveals is the kind of vulnerability that is probably relatable to many people. 

This album is not really about music, it’s about his life. With this music, Lil Nas X is breaking barriers and talking openly about his life, love, and lust as a gay man. These experiences are something that everyone can relate to, but when they pertain to a gay person, they are not talked about as often. In fact, references to romantic life, or any part of life, as a gay person are mostly absent from mainstream music. Lil Nas X does more than talk about it, he celebrates his sexuality and shows the world the perspective of a Black, queer man. Even if the response of some people is to be shocked, the point is to show that he exists, and he seems to be telling people to get used to it.