Lil Nas X finally drops the highly-anticipated, controversial, multi-faceted, and star-studded “MONTERO.”
5. DEAD RIGHT NOW
Lil Nas X deserves to have a song like “DEAD RIGHT NOW” in his music catalog.
Whether you like Lil Nas X or not, you have to admit, his rise to the top has been very impressive. Because of his personal business that people care a little bit too much about, he’s probably had to overcome some high hurdles. Well, now that he has made it, he’s cool with making a song like “DEAD RIGHT NOW” that lets everyone that doubted him know that he’s stiff-arming folks moving forward.
I appreciate the honesty, vulnerability, bluntness, and pure cockiness that Lil Nas X shows in this song. Not only does he call out his own mama and papa, but he also lets people know that he can give a damn about features.
4. DONT WANT IT
“DONT WANT IT” follows a formula that Lil Nas X loves to use.
“DONT WANT IT” is one of those songs that will make a retired flutist pick up a flute again, make a retired basketball player pick up a basketball again, and make Tim Tebow try out for a sport that he is not qualified for… again. The track boasts uplifting lyrics, very positive energy, and even a short skit that will make you feel like you can win awards just like Lil Nas X has/does!
Lil Nas X said, “Tell the Devil he doesn’t want it” in this song… See, I told you that he’s not in an abusive relationship with Mr. Lucifer!
3. DOLLA SIGN SLIME
It’s fitting that Lil Nas X and Megan Thee Stallion decided to unite for “DOLLA SIGN SLIME.” In my opinion, they are two of the most hated artists on the planet right now (I mean, one of Lil Nas X’s music videos has one billion dislikes).
In “DOLLA SIGN SLIME,” both Lil Nas X and Megan Thee Stallion let us know that our hate towards them has had zero impact on how they are living. In their verses on the song, they talk about all of the expensive s**t that they are copping and being sought after by thirsty men. More than anything, “DOLLA SIGN SLIME” is an anthem that is catchy, super competitive, and hella boisterous.
2. INDUSTRY BABY
“Industry Baby” is undeniably good.
To me, this is probably the second or third best Lil Nas X song to date. Over a beat that was produced by both Take A Day Trip and Kanye West, X talks about pulling up on his competition, about having major success, and about being as motivated as he’s ever been. While I think that the melodies that he relies on are decent, it is his cocky demeanor that strikes a chord with me.
Jack Harlow blesses us with a sly-ass rap verse that has him also talking his fair share of s**t in “Industry Baby.” Since the beat that he raps over has this celebratory feel attached to it, him sounding like a dude with his chest all the way out fits so very well.
Speaking of cocky, the music video to “Industry Baby” is one of the most explicit jail pornos I’ve ever seen (It’s actually the only jail porno that I’ve ever seen).
Lil Nas X and Doja Cat sound like the perfect tandem in “SCOOP.”
“SCOOP” features a sound that caters to both Lil Nas X and Doja Cat masterfully. The song is effortlessly arrogant, hella infectious, and boasts a tempo that will get you to move your feet and/or put your shot hand to work. Personally, what I love about the song is how X jumps from gentle to aggressive to rowdy on his verse. I also love how Doja sounds like a boxer that is shadowboxing as she’s walking to the ring.
“SCOOP” was an instant library save for me. This song is fire!
SONG BY SONG BREAKDOWN
1. MONTERO (Call Me By Your Name) (4/5)
2. DEAD RIGHT NOW (4/5)
3. INDUSTRY BABY (4/5)
4. THATS WHAT I WANT (3/5)
5. THE ART OF REALIZATION (N/A)
6. SCOOP (5/5)
7. ONE OF ME (4/5)
8. LOST IN THE CITADEL (4/5)
9. DOLLA SIGN SLIME (4/5)
10. TALES OF DOMINICA (4/5)
11. SUN GOES DOWN (3/5)
12. VOID (4/5)
13. DONT WANT IT (4/5)
14. LIFE AFTER SALEM (4/5)
15. AM I DREAMING (3/5)
I wouldn’t call Lil Nas X a versatile artist; I rather call him an opportunist. I love how he shows zero fear in diving nose-deep into every kind of song on this planet. I mean, seriously, in MONTERO, Nas X gifts us with a blues song, a rock song, hip-hop songs, pop songs, alternative songs, and everything in-between. While he has his limitations as a singer, that doesn’t stop him from showing his ass in each song (And the artwork); hence why I call him an opportunist.
One thing that I really love about this album is the content that Lil Nas X covers in it. I f**k with the songs in which he brags about his boss status, the songs in which he opens up about his insecurities, the songs he talks about his journey to happiness, and the songs in which he talks about his prior struggles. While I do think his content is exactly what disenfranchised communities need to hear, on the real, his words are so nonproprietary, everybody could get a boost from them.
Sooooooo… I wouldn’t call Lil Nas X the next Brent Faiyaz. Don’t get me wrong, I think he is great at creating appealing melodies, but by no means do I think that he puts up competent singing performances. With that being said, I think it’s his charm, his fearlessness, and his authenticity that make his vocal performances on MONTERO delightful and entertaining. Today, in a world where COVID is killing 1 in 500 people, I think we could use extra servings of charm and authenticity and less technical.
I actually enjoyed Lil Nas X’s rapping on this album. No, he doesn’t hit us with Fabolous-like punchlines or crazy flows in MONTERO, he just hits us with appealing raps that are delivered extremely confidently. I love how Nas X attacks each beat that he’s handed like he belongs, proving that he could probably last a couple of years on Griselda. I definitely underrated him as a rapper.
The features did their thing on this album. I thought that Jack Harlow, Megan Thee Stallion, and Doja Cat added some well-needed rap-hostility to the album, while Elton John and Miley Cyrus did fantastic jobs of encouraging Nas X to bring out his soft/emo singer side. All in all, I feel like everyone on MONTERO did a great job of playing the young Nas X’s hypeman.
One thing that I love is when recording artists do whole albums with ONE producer; that is what you basically get with MONTERO. Lil Nas X’s right-hand man, Take A Day Trip, hooked him up with a variety of beats that I think perfectly fit his style. Their chemistry is evident.
Lil Nas X is one of the most popular musicians on the planet right now, and as a hip-hop fan, that should make you very happy. While I don’t think he does anything amazing as an artist, it’s what he stands for, what he’s had to overcome, and what he will have to deal with moving forward that lets me know that this little guy has mad heart!
Quincy is the creator of Ratings Game Music. He loves writing about music, taking long walks on beaches, and spaghetti that fights him back.