Lil Nas X's 'Montero' album and the power of unabashed queerness

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Lil Nas X's new 'Montero' album follows the young rapper's burgeoning influence, from MTV and the VMA's to the Time 100 list to the Met Gala red carpet.
The road to Lil Nas X's debut album "Montero" has been an exhilarating affair, complete with detours like a chart-topping EP, "7," show-stopping red carpet outfits, multiple awards and a run of viral music videos.

The Georgia-born rapper's meteoritic rise started with his track "Old Town Road" — released independently as a single in 2018 — which made the Billboard 100 and became a viral TikTok meme in the process. But the star's music is only part of the story. Lil Nas X demonstrates a type of celebratory, unabashed queerness that is badly needed in the music industry right now, and culture more generally.

some of y'all already know, some of y'all don't care, some of y'all not gone fwm no more. but before this month ends i want y'all to listen closely to c7osure. 🌈🤩✨ pic.twitter.com/O9krBLllqQ — MONTERO 🦋 (@LilNasX) June 30, 2019

The breakout success of "Old Town Road" sparked interesting and important conversations about race and country music. But after his June 2019 Twitter post celebrating his queer identify, Nas' vibrant ascension took on a new purpose for his growing legion of fans — especially his LGBTQ listeners. In an industry still steeped in homophobia, transphobia, biphobia and overall anti-LGBTQ attitudes, Lil Nas X is a bold symbol of freedom.

Nas is a disruptor, a title that took on new meaning as he began work on his debut album "Montero" in 2020, amid the Covid-19 pandemic and a broader fight against racial inequality.

"Creating this album has been therapy for me," Nas said in a Twitter post detailing his work on "Montero." "I've learned to let go of trying to control people's perception of who I am, what I can do, and where I will be. I've realized the only opinion of me that really matters is my own."

In an industry still steeped in homophobia, transphobia, biphobia and overall anti-LGBTQ attitudes, Lil Nas X is a bold symbol of freedom.

The singer explores his search for self on tracks like "Sun Goes Down" — with its emotional lyrics…
Treye Green
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