Lil Nas X portrays the challenge of being a gay teenager of African descent

A sizable section of the music scene patiently sharpened their fangs waiting for a slip of the tongue. Lil Nas X to justify his lack of artistic consistency. As it happens with those new expressions that are difficult to fully assimilate after a certain age, the possibility of unmasking a faker on the internet was greedily anticipated. In addition, the American singer had managed to unite in contempt for him a good part of the most conservative audience, especially those for whom country is the musical representation of the nation’s most sacred values.

For these, the overwhelming success of the single Old Town Road It wasn’t going to be easy to forgive. First, because the idea of ​​mixing a catchy country tune with a trap base that included a samples of Nine Inch Nails was little short of sacrilege. And secondly, because Nas usually kills those who dare to challenge him. As the first version of the theme was expelled from the genre charts for not conforming to orthodoxy, the one from Atlanta counterattacked with a remix alongside Billy Ray Cyrus himself. Spray all tenure records on the Billboard chart was the sweetest revenge.

It must be borne in mind that at the beginning, we are talking about the end of 2018 and the beginning of 2019, it was still difficult to distinguish whether theirs was legitimate, fine irony or a time bomb delicately housed within the “system” to burst it from within. The doubt was even more reasonable for those unaware of the existence of a yeehaw calendar, movement that denounces the whitening of the traditional cowboy aesthetic and that in recent years has been championed by artists such as Solangesister of Beyoncé, or Mitsky.

Another reason for mistrust was that Old Town Roadthat kind of Do not break anymore infectious and aesthetic 2.0, began its triumphant rise by sharing on TikTok. The intense and exhausting work on social networks has been key in the figure of Lil Nas X since its inception. order a abusive number of remixes or favor the creation of videos with images of the Rockstar video game Red Dead Redemption II they were clever ways of keeping their product alive.

This looseness of Nas is based on two different pillars. The first is obviously generational: when he was born in 1999 he is assumed to be a digital native. The second, who even before reaching his current fame, achieved a certain negative impact at the helm of two Twitter accounts in tribute to Nicki Minaj. Her tactics were considered spam on the platform and to this day there are still those who remind him of off-key messages; a clickbait excessive that the singer assumes and for which he has apologized.

In June 2019 and already with the support of Columbia Records, he released the EP 7, which was poorly received by critics. There was certainly nothing that could hold the bet in that compilation of uninspired songs. Apart from two moderately acceptable singles like panini either Rodeowho continued in his line of country references with Cardi B, the most interesting thing was his public coming out of the closet with the lively and danceable C7osure (You Like). The latter is precisely the most interesting turning point in his career.

Fortunately, today the presence of LGTBI artists in the mainstream it is no longer a rarity. But the debate changes if we talk about a black artist initially linked to trap, a heteronormative genre that borders on parody on many occasions. And in case it wasn’t clear enough with C7osure (You Like)Lil Nas X reaffirmed himself with the spectacular video of MONTERO (Call Me By Your Name). In addition to paying homage to the well-known film by Luca Guadagnino, making a lapdance the Devil himself left little room for interpretation. The treatment for the offended: drink two cups without breathing.

It is from this moment that Lil Nas X puts on his glamorous suit of Huntsman (part of his real name, Montero Lamar Hill) and resumes his feverish activity of marketing to promote the upcoming album. Up to eight videos related to the single were uploaded to YouTube, an insistence difficult to tolerate at certain ages. She also granted another pearl: the catchy single Industry Baby, resounding vindication before its critics and a new challenge for squared minds. The powerful and hilarious images of prison sex were perfectly matched by a sticky chorus and synth trumpet arrangement courtesy of Kanye West.

Anticipated by a controversial teaser in the format of baby showeron September 17 was published Huntsman (Columbia Records / Sony Spain), their first full-length. At last, both fans and detractors were going to have fresh meat to comment (with great intensity) on social networks. With an ornate, dreamy and colorful aesthetic, he appeared as usual in artists of his generation, with visuals for each song under his arm.

And what does it tell us Huntsman? Are we facing the musical hoax of this beginning of the decade or is there an interesting artist behind the media phenomenon? The answer is as ambiguous as its stylistic cataloging. at times it sounds urbanin others he pays tribute to the Beatles and Outkast (very obvious in That’s What I Want), but it also points to those grunge melodies that fans like so much. rag pickers depressed Huntsman is a modern and unprejudiced pop album, closer to the proposals of Brockhampton or Doja Cat, who accompanies him in the playful scoopthan to those of Migos and 21 Savage.

For this very reason, Huntsman it lacks coherence as a record. On a musical level and apart from the already known singles, where he probably shines the most is on songs like Dead Right Now, Don’t Want It either One of Me, with piano by Elton John. In them he maintains current sounds but introduces more interesting atmospheres than in his previous catalogue. It also solves well the archetypal trap of Dolla Sign Slimewith Megan Thee Stallion, and the beautiful closing of Am I Dreamingwhere Miley Cyrus accompanies perfectly without casting a shadow.

Curiously, when it is more conventional on a sonorous level, in songs like Lost in The Citadel, Tales of Dominica, void either Life After Salem, more reveals who Montero Lamar Hill really is: a musician capable of openly showing the complicated task of growing up as an African-American gay teenager in an often hostile environment. There is the Lil Nas X who boasts of Grammys and the Montero who remembers the bullying at school, his internalized homophobia, suicidal thoughts or the instability caused by growing up in a broken family.

Despite the good songs and careful production of the duo Take a Daytrip, their intention to cover too much makes Huntsman not be a perfect record. On the other hand, we are talking about a perfect album to define Generation Z. This album, in short, confirms the intuition that Lil Nas X has the ability to faithfully reflect the lives of today’s young people. And as if that were not enough, it promotes the global acceptance of certain aesthetics that in some styles they should already be assimilated. Only for the latter, as evidenced by the metaphorical and literal embrace of him in the video of Sun Goes Downit would have been worth it.

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Lil Nas X portrays the challenge of being a gay teenager of African descent

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