Lil Nas X is a 21 year old rapper & singer-songwriter from Lithia Springs, Georgia who skyrocketed to stardom in 2019 of the novelty country rap banger “Old Town Road”. His debut EP 7 later that summer would later prove that he was no 1-hit wonder, especially with tracks like “Panini” & “Rodeo”. But since then (this year specifically), it’s safe to say that Nas X has made himself one of the most polarizing figures in hip hop today from his most recent music videos to some of his outfit choices at award shows which I’m not gonna get too deep into because people in the culture have been wearing questionable shit for a very long time now dating back to my all-time favorite producer Dr. Dre wearing lipstick on those World Class Wreckin’ Cru album covers & I don’t understand why people are acting like it’s new when it really isn’t. I guess I just contradicted myself there but let’s dive into this full-length debut of his over here, shall we?
The title track starts off the album with a catchy Flamenco pop/rap fusion with the help of Take a Daytrip telling his lover to call him when he needs him whereas “DEAD RIGHT NOW” works in some synths & snares going at a fraud. “INDUSTRY BABY” brings in some horns as he & Jack Harlow with co-production from Kanye West surprisingly declare themselves champions just before “THAT’S WHAT I WANT” goes into acoustic expressing his desire for love.
After the “ART OF REALIZATION” skit, we have Lil Nas X & Doja Cat coming together for the bouncy yet futuristic “SCOOP” talking about trying to be the daily for one another leading into the Elton John-assisted piano ballad “ONE OF ME” going at those who called him a 1-hit wonder. “LOST IN THE CITADEL” has a bit of a rock flare paying tribute to his guardian angel, but then Megan Thee Stallion pops up for the braggadicious & vibrant “$ SLIME”.
“TALES OF DOMINICA” has a bit of a summery feel instrumentally as he addresses his relationship with his mother whereas “SUN GOES DOWN” is a contemporary R&B cut talking to his younger self. “VOID” serves as a passionate note to a friend from the road while the song “DON’T WANT IT” serves as a moody look at the cons of fame. The penultimate track “LIFE AFTER SALEM” samples “Take What You Want” by Post Malone calling out someone he used to love & “AM I DREAMING?” is an acoustic duet with Miley Cyrus telling the listener to remember them.
Now I’m absolutely not one of these Karen’s spouting off about how “He’s confusing children, he’s a bad role model to them” because it should all really boil down to the quality of the music. That being said: I think this is a solid, respectable album. His versatility is undeniable as demonstrated on 7, but he expands it further & gets a bit more personal on the lyrical end.