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Music Rewind 2021: Lil Nas X Becomes A Hip-Hop Icon With Some Help From Meme Culture

Music Rewind 2021: Lil Nas X Becomes A Hip-Hop Icon With Some Help From Meme Culture

Lil Nas X has come a long way from the ‘Old Town Road’ to become one of music’s biggest shining stars! Between blockbuster singles, thoughtful visuals, and his confident attitude, there’s something for everyone to enjoy in his artistry. And in 2021, he took his stardom further than ever as he unveiled his debut album, MONTERO, and more. Let’s take a look at the amazing year that Lil Nas X has had!

Industry Baby GIF by Lil Nas X - Find & Share on GIPHY
Image Source: Lil Nas X on GIPHY

‘MONTERO (Call Me By Your Name)’

Lil Nas X’s world domination this year started in March, when he dropped the guitar-driven ‘MONTERO (Call Me By Your Name).’ A story of gay romance, it’s no surprise that he gave his own real name to such an honest song. Flash forward to the end of the year and the track is nominated for Song and Record of the Year at the 2022 GRAMMY Awards.

Part of what made ‘MONTERO’ so huge was its fantasy-themed music video, which ends with Lil Nas X pole-dancing his way into Hell to rendezvous with Satan himself. The video was a statement on homophobia and the bigoted idea that same-sex love is “demonic,” proving that hateful words can’t stop an LGBTQ+ star from becoming a household name.

C Is For Country 

LNX and his trusty sidekick, Panini the Pony, go on an alphabet-themed adventure in his debut children’s book, C Is For Country! We love that Lil Nas X has captivated audiences of all ages, whether it’s young adults jamming out to his songs or kids growing up reading his book. 

Image Source: C Is For Country Cover via Random House Children’s Books

Making His Saturday Night Live Debut

Lil Nas X brought the fiery Hell scene from the ‘MONTERO (Call Me By Your Name)’ music video to life when he performed on Saturday Night Live for the first time! He came back later with a rendition of his track ‘SUN GOES DOWN,’ and we can’t get enough of either performance. 

Flexing On The Jack Harlow-Assisted ‘INDUSTRY BABY’

If you haven’t been following him, Lil Nas X’s accomplishments so far can pretty much be summed up with these ‘INDUSTRY BABY’ lyrics: “couple racks, couple GRAMMYs on him, couple plaques.” But his iconic collab with Jack Harlow brought his success to the next level just when we thought he couldn’t get any bigger. It hit #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 in late October, earning LNX his third #1 hit and Jack his first. This song was seriously everywhere this year!

It’s common knowledge that Lil Nas X’s music videos are incredible, and ‘INDUSTRY BABY’ is no exception. The video is set in a prison and sees Nas and Jack breaking out after some bold dance scenes and a dramatic dig through the jail walls. And if you look closely, you can see an Easter egg for the MONTERO album cover on the backs of the prison uniforms. 

Falling In Forbidden Love With ‘THAT’S WHAT I WANT’

The yearning on ‘THAT’S WHAT I WANT’ is one of the most relatable parts of the MONTERO album. Whether you’re falling in forbidden love like Lil Nas X or just feeling lonely, there’s definitely something you’ll connect with. It’s emotional, raw, and honest, which is what made the promotions so funny.

LNX played on the video’s queer love story with an appearance on Maury, where he pursued his married love interest, Yai, and tried to convince him to leave his wife and son so they could be together. The plot thickens when Yai accuses his wife of cheating on him and claims their child isn’t biologically his. Is a future with Yai what he wants? You’ll have to watch the episode to find out!

Raising Money For Sixteen Non-Profits

Leading up to the release of his debut album, Lil Nas X pretended to be pregnant with the project as his baby. He created a “baby registry” on his website with the album tracklist, with each song being matched up with a relevant charity or non-profit to encourage fans to donate. It’s so admirable that he used his platform and the hype for his record to raise awareness for such important causes!

And after months of exciting promotions, it was finally time to bring MONTERO into the world… 

Releasing His Debut Album, MONTERO

Shortly after dropping a Marvel-themed trailer video, Lil Nas X dropped his debut album, MONTERO! It’s unbelievable that he was already such a global superstar before even releasing a full-length project. And complete with an intricate promo cycle full of meme-able billboards and funny teaser videos, the album has only shot him even further into stardom.

See Also

Most of the pre-release singles are on the first half of the record, letting casual fans get situated with songs they already know before becoming more experimental and emotional as the tracklist goes on. From the feisty ‘DEAD RIGHT NOW’ to the guitar-driven ‘LOST IN THE CITADEL,’ Lil Nas X gets to explore so many different genres and topics. Not to mention the unforgettable collabs with artists like Doja Cat (‘SCOOP’), Miley Cyrus (‘AM I DREAMING’), and Megan Thee Stallion (‘DOLLA SIGN SLIME’).

Performing And Winning At The Video Music Awards

Lil Nas X gave us one of the boldest performances of the evening with his mashup of ‘Industry Baby’ and ‘MONTERO (Call Me By Your Name),’ complete with flashy choreo and a recreation of the ‘INDUSTRY BABY’ video shower scene. Later in the night, he took home the awards for Video of the Year, Best Direction, and Best Visual Effects for ‘MONTERO (Call Me By Your Name).’ Talk about an incredible night!

What was your favorite Lil Nas X moment of 2021? Let us know in the comments below or hit us up on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter!

Sun Goes Down GIF by Lil Nas X - Find & Share on GIPHY
Image Source: Lil Nas X on GIPHY

TO LEARN MORE ABOUT LIL NAS X:
FACEBOOK | INSTAGRAM | TIKTOK | TWITTER | WEBSITE | YOUTUBE

Featured Image Source: Filip Ćustić

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