The name is Hill, Montero Hill
29 September 2021-
James Bond may be back on the silver screen, Lil Nas X (real name: Montero Hill) is very much back on the turntables... Play that joint!
It’s impossible to miss Lil Nas X: if the name doesn’t ring any bells, a) you have a problem with your hearing, b) even if you do have a problem with your hearing, you still heard his music. “Old Town Road” was the biggest song of 2019 — and in Billboard history for that matter, spending a record 19 consecutive weeks on top of the Hot 100. That and another 19 weeks on top of the Country charts, before being disqualified as not being Country enough — although that is arguably a debate that reaches far beyond the confines of this post. The point is, the success X got virtually from the get go was a clear sign of things to come, as every time the artist came back in the charts — and in the news, his star kept moving higher in the sky.
For several reasons: 1) excellent musical material, first and foremost, served by stellar production and innovative genre bending stylistic mash-ups; 2) provocative themes, usually complemented by somewhat on-the-nose music videos, the most famous of which remains “Montero (Call Me By Your Name)”, in which X is seen simulating sexual intercourse with none other than the devil. Incredibly, the biggest controversy to come out of that video concerned sneakers, but again, that’s beside the point. The point is that “Montero”, “Industry Baby” or “That’s What I Want” keep being hit singles one after the other, as if the man could do no wrong. And, to be fair, it very much seems like it at this point: the singer’s debut album, Montero, came out a week ago, is already #2 on the Billboard 200 (right behind the inevitable Certified Lover Boy himself, but ahead of Donda), and is shock full of musical excellence.
Beside the aforementioned singles, which tend to display a highly cohesive and efficient blend of R&B mixed with just the right amount of electro-pop, you can also find surprisingly distinct musical gems on this debut LP. Such is the case with “Tales Of Dominica” and album closer “Am I Dreaming” featuring the great Miley Cyrus, whose father famously joined forces with X on that seminal “Old Town Road” remix. Both tracks display a remarkably subtle and subdued sound that one might not expect from someone as theatrical as Mr Hill. Conversely, “Life After Salem” could almost be featured in a (Nu) Metal track listing: that guitar riff would not sound out of place on a Marilyn Manson album, not to mention the singer’s ability to push his vocal cords in wildly different directions… Then you have the extremely efficient hip hop infused collaboration with Doja Cat (“Scoop”) and Megan Thee Stallion (“Dolla Sign Slime”) with add the finishing urban touch.
Put simply, this album is an extremely interesting piece of work, one that displays more diversity and breadth than could have been expected from such a young artist. We stand ready and eager to see what comes next!