Culture Pick | The mind of Montero


Jolencia Jones, Contributing Writer

Rapper Lil Nas X has gained popularity over the last three years by staying true to himself and breaking records.

His 2018 single “Old Town Road” became the longest-running No. 1 song in Billboard’s history and one of the fastest songs to become certified diamond. He won two Grammy awards for “Old Town Road.” 

After the massive success, he released an extended play titled “7” in 2019, but fans eagerly anticipated his first studio album. Throughout COVID-19 lockdowns, Lil Nas X began recording his debut album. On Friday, Sept. 17, “Montero” was born.

“This album exuberates confidence, creativity, just me completely stepping out of my comfort zone and saying whatever I want and giving my actual stories, giving my fans something to take from me,” Lil Nas X said in an interview with Apple Music’s Zane Lowe.

The album takes listeners into the mind of Lil Nas X exploring topics like  freedom, love, lust, soul-searching, acceptance of his past and his vision for the future. Listeners are engaged from beginning to end, and they learn more about who Lil Nas X is as the album progresses. 

The 15-track album moves quickly, at 41 minutes long. 

It has a specific pop-rap sound, and these songs enhance the listeners’ experience. Lil Nas X brags about his success and responds to active criticism through songs like “Industry Baby,” featuring Jack Harlow, and “Dolla Sign Slime,” featuring Megan Thee Stallion. 

He reminds the listener that he hasn’t failed, even though many people wanted him to. 

The album has a theme of love and lust.

In “Montero (Call Me by Your Name)” and “That’s What I Want,” he details relationships that he wants but is struggling to maintain. The songs share similar topics but stark contrasts in sound to enhance the versatility within the album. “That’s What I Want” has a pop-rock feel, whereas “Montero (Call Me by Your Name)” has hip-hop and pop elements. 

As the album continues, Lil Nas X reflects on the struggles he went through growing up. All of these moments, good or bad, have shaped him into the person he is now.

In “Tales of Dominica” and “Sun Goes Down,” he continues this theme of reflection through a melodic pop sound and  acknowledges some of the struggles from his past. Although he spent most of the album describing his ideal future, success has brought a multitude of problems into his life. 

The last song on the album is a duet between Lil Nas X and Miley Cyrus titled “Am I Dreaming.” The pair express how they never want to be forgotten. 

“The theme of the song is being on a sinking ship and thinking your last thoughts out loud,” Lil Nas X said on Twitter.  

Lil Nas X delivers a work of art in “Montero.” The album debuted at No. 2 on the Billboard 200 chart, and 11 out of 15 songs charted on Billboard Hot 100

Although there were concerns about his longevity, the success of “Montero” proves Lil Nas X will become one of the greatest pop stars in the upcoming years. This album proves that his journey to the top is just beginning.