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Lil Nas X : Best rapper of the year 2021 ?

One month ago was released MONTERO, the very first Lil Nas X’s studio album, including his four last singles : Montero (Call Me By Your Name), Sun Goes Down, Industry Baby and Thats What I Want. There is no doubt that the young rapper from Georgia won’t stop impressing the world today. Let’s analyze what brought him so high in the charts, and what could potentially make him the best rapper of the year…

2021 was a pretty good year for hip-hop music…

Kanye West (or should we say “ye”) released his highly-anticipated album Donda and showed that he has still something to give to this culture…The legendary Nas made an unbelievable comeback with his “King’s Deasease II”, proving that the older generation isn’t dead (yet…)…
The new talented rapper Morray released his first mixtape full of innovation…
In June, Polo G released the best representation of the young generation with his album “Hall of Fame”…
Anyway, even though 2021 is not finished yet, we can, without a doubt, claim that this year was a great year for hip-hop and rap music… especially for…

Yep, you know who we are going to talk about…
– Lil Nas X –

Lil Nas X, roi de Twitter

A little more than two years ago was released the remixed single “Old Town Road”, with the country-guy Billy Ray Cyrus.
A single that changed the history of hip-hop music forever by laying new foundations on how people see the genre born 50 years ago in the Bronx neighborhoods.

When the single was released on April 2019, we were all wondering: ” Wait, who’s this guy ? What is that ? Is that trap music ? Country music ? Is that a genius or a simple fluke ? “

As a lot of people, you probably said to yourself: “Once again, another guy who will disappear after a sudden success in the music industry, like many others…”. Wrong!

Stream OLD TOWN ROAD - Lil Nas X Marty Ray Project Acoustic Cover by  Jack20172 | Listen online for free on SoundCloud

Exactly three months later, while Old Town Road was still played all over the world, Lil Nas released his mixtape “7” with Columbia Records, giving a first answer to his haters that claimed that he wasn’t meant to stay in this rap game.

In this mixtape, the brand new single “Panini”, a song in which he talks about his social situation that suddenly changed in a couple of weeks. But also the really cool “Rodeo” with Cardi B.

But the EP received mixed reception from critics, the young rapper was still looking for the recipe that made the rapper he was known for.

7 (Lil Nas X EP) - Wikipedia

During more than one year, the American rapper took the time needed to feed his mind and come back under the status everybody was waiting for after Old Town Road: A real pop star.

In an interview accorded to Apple Music on September 2021, the rapper says: “It really hit during 2020… I’m not really putting out any music, Covid just hit, I haven’t even been really making any music very much. It seems like everything just disappears. That’s when the world became super big again. I had to shrink it back down within my mind.”

November 2020, the Georgian artists finally comes back. The single “Holiday” is released all over the world. The critics are relatively good, without being exceptional.

The rapper is hardly looking for a confirmation. Something that could proof the world that he isn’t there by accident.
It will finally happen on April 2021, with the great single Montero, the future name of his first album. The world discovers a new face, more mature, more introspective but also a more free mentality.

With the next three singles that follow (Sun Goes Down, Industry Baby and Thats What I Want), Lil Nas lays the foundation of a totally new and simple state of mind:

No limit.

Lil Nas X phone – Wonderland

It’s on that state of mind that the American rapper built his first album “Montero” released one month ago, on September 17, 2021.
But isn’t “no limit” a destructive way to think ? For some people, yes. Not for Lil Nas X. In his album “Montero”, he used it as an inspiration of excellence, as a way to free himself from the critics and the expectations.

This one-year break allowed Lil Nas X to build, not only an album, but a musical history, where he brings us in his eclectic artistic world.
Through his album, the rapper mixes rap, pop, punk and many other genres without moving away from his guideline. In each song, we can feel his pain, in “Am I Dreaming” with Miley Cyrus for example, as much as we can feel his happiness to be where he is right now. It’s the case in Scoop with the talented Doja Cat. On Dead Right Now, he comes back on his painful past, but also on how narrow the road was to reach his goals.

From the very first minutes until the end of the album, we understand that the rapper from Georgia wants to bring us with him in his journey. His 15 songs make us explore his inside landscape and where all he went through from “Old Town Road” to “Montero”.
This first album has this particular thing that builds the perfect recipe of a great album. On each song, the rapper has this amazing ability, through his different flows and ways to sing, to please everybody that loves music. Which is, let’s be honest, pretty rare in the hip-hop field.

BUT, is “Montero” an hip-hop album, or a pop album ? It’s a never-ending debate that could start with this question. The same kind of debate that took place during weeks and weeks when Old Town Road was #1 in the charts as a country song… and then removed.
In 2021, being eclectic, whatever the genre, is one one the keys for success. And Lil Nas perfectly understood that. We live in an area where all the musical genres are mixed and transformed each second. And, in hip-hop music, the better one will be the one who will be able to offer some new vibes to the listeners.
That’s exactly what the rapper have done those last months, making 2021 a great year for hip-hop, pop and rap music but also… for himself!

So… Is Lil Nas X the best rapper of the year ? We’ll let you build your own opinion. But I’m sure that the rapper’s got a lot of surprises for us in the future. With “Montero”, he showed everyone that “Old Town Road” wasn’t at the top of the charts by accident.
We’re also all attracted by this almost “Disney” story that brought Lil Nas from nothing to a real pop star. We, listeners and music fans, are always interested in learning more about our favorite artists. A singer or rapper without a story in his/her back is always less attractive.
Potentially putting the Georgian rapper as the #1 doesn’t mean that the other ones (Kanye, Nas, Drake, Polo G,…) are way behind him. Because a lot of great albums were released this year. In my opinion, what would make Lil Nas X win this battle is the story told throughout the album. A story full of different emotions, flows, and different genres that all bring us into his world.
Now, let’s wait and see what the young talented rapper from Georgia will release in the next months. Whatever happens, there is no question about it:

He made it.

IDeez

IDeez (real name Gauthier Claude) is the owner and head engineer of IDeez Studio. He has been working as a mixing engineer in pop and hip-hop music for several years and collaborates with many artists and independent labels around the world. His goal is to provide quality online mixing services and to teach, through his blog posts, the principles and techniques of mixing in pop and hip-hop music.

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IDeez

About IDeez

IDeez is the head sound engineer of IDeez Studio. He studied BA and MA in sound engineering at IAD (Belgium) and has been a specialist in vocal mixing for several years, especially in pop and hip-hop music. His goal is to help artists, rappers and singers in their mixing process through online mixing services, tutorials, blog articles and e-books. Contact him for any information!

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