☁️🦋 Welcome to Montero 🦋☁️

An Introduction by Ta’Niyah Armstrong

Who is Lil Nas X ?

Montero Lamar Hill, the American musician better known as Lil Nas X, was born in Lithia Springs, Georgia, on April 9th, 1999. His parents Tamikia Hill and Robert Stafford, divorced when he was just six years old, driving him to live with only his mother and grandmother. At age 9, Montero moved in with his father to Austell, Georgia, to distance himself from the wrong crowd many black kids his age fell victim to. Nas’ first introduction to music would be in primary and middle school, where he played the trumpet in his school band. Unfortunately, Montero quit fearing he would be perceived as ‘lame’ by his peers. Eventually, Montero would abandon his social life for a more accepting crowd: the Internet. Here he would become pretty well known on social media apps like Twitter, thanks to the various memes and Stan accounts he created. In 2017, Montero would graduate and attend college at the University of West Georgia. His college career would be short-lived as he chose to drop out after his Freshman year. Montero would instead decide to become a full-time musician. His previous endeavors on social media would prove beneficial towards achieving success.

🦋 Career 🦋

Lil Nas X’s career began in early 2018 when he decided to drop out of college to pursue his interest in music. He started producing songs from his sister’s home and releasing them through the music app SoundCloud. Unfortunately, his music wouldn’t receive much recognition until later that same year, when he would edit his song “Old Town Road” onto a meme video and post it to the social media app TikTok. After his first-ever release of “Old Town Road,” many believed he would be a one-hit-wonder. That couldn’t be furthest from the truth because he would release his first-ever EP ‘7’ a year later, which peaked at #2 on Billboard’s Top 200. Soon after, on the last day of pride month, June 30th, Nas would come out publically as gay. Nas received a great deal of backlash, accompanied by lots of support from fans. This would lead to possibly his most controversial release, the music video “Montero (Call Me by Your Name)”. It was his first openly expressive act of the identity he’d previously hidden for 19 years prior. Though this music view wasn’t well-received by the media, it played a massive role in his success rate from that point forward. Most recently, Nas released the single “Industry Baby” and his first full album MONTERO. Both of which embrace his identity as a black man in the LGBTQ community.

🦋 Influences and Contemporaries 🦋

One of Lil Nas X’s most significant influences is from his father, Robert Stanford, a gospel singer. Nas even featured some of his fathers’ vocals in Dead Right Now’s track. A song about past relationships with family, including his parents, and his evolution since early life. Furthermore, Lil Nas takes inspiration from fellow artists. Most prominent is from artist Nas, who is known as one of the most influential rappers of all time. Nas’ influence on Lil Nas X is highly evident, as Lil Nas adapted his stage name from him. 

Nas’ contemporaries include Megan Thee Stallion, Doja Cat, BTS, Tyler The Creator, and Frank Ocean. Each of these artists has a similar impact on the music scene. Artist Megan Thee Stallion, for example, plays a huge role in women’s empowerment and being an unapologetic black woman. Furthermore, other gay musicians like Tyler the Creator, Frank Ocean, and Elton John are credited by Nas as playing a role in making it easier for him himself to come out. Musicians like Nas and his contemporaries are incredibly influential in society today. They collectively work to dismantle standards set by previous generations.

☁️ Discography ☁️

  • NASARATI – Self-Released EP (2018)

  • Old Town Road – Single (2018)

  • Old Town Road ft Billy Ray Cirus/ BTS’ RM / Diplo – Single/Remix (2019)

  • 7 – EP (2019) With features from artists like Cardi B and Travis Barker.

  • Panini (Dababy Remix) – Single 2019

  • Rodeo ft Nas – Single (2020)

  • Holiday – Single (2020)

  • Montero (Call Me By Your Name) – Single (2021)

  • Sun Goes Down – Single (2021)

  • Industry Baby ft Jack Harlow – Single (2021)

  • MONTERO – Album (2021) With features from artists including: Megan Thee Stallion, Doja Cat, Elton John, and Miley Cyrus.

☁️

☁️ Awards ☁️

Throughout his entire career so far, Lil Nas X has managed to be nominated for 107 awards. This is thanks to his impactful music and stance as a gay black male artist. The city council of Atlanta has even declared a day of honor to him. Some of his biggest achievements include:

  • Lil Nas X Day – October 20th

  • Grammy wins for Best Pop Duo Performance and Best Music Video for Old Town Road

  • 5 Grammy Nominations for 2022

  • American Music Award Wins: Favorite Music Video for Montero (Call Me by Your Name)

  • 4 Billboard Music Award Wins

  • 2 BET Hip Hop Award Wins

Societal 🦋 Impacts

In a society where the oppression of black queer people is most apparent, artists like Lil Nas X help break down stigmas put in place by years of traditional stereotypes. Through Lil Nas X’s music, he addresses identity, homosexuality, mental health, suicide, and divided families. Despite being part of a field that encourages artists to hide their true selves, Nas lives completely transparent. He acknowledges the importance of eliminating heteronormativity in the music industry—and in society as a whole— and through his lyricism and public acts proves he’s active towards achieving this goal. His hugely controversial music video Montero (Call Me by Your Name) for example, conveys the message of being unapologetically gay.

Societal 🦋 Contributions

Lil Nas X has proven to be one of the most ‘woke’ artists of the 21st century. He is highly aware of his platform and uses it to his advantage to bring awareness to different organizations. To celebrate the ‘birth’ of his very first album Montero, Nas put together a ‘baby registry.’ However, he wasn’t accepting legitimate gifts; instead, he encouraged supporters to donate to 15 different organizations. Instead of using the album to gain fame and notoriety, he used the opportunity to highlight and give back to various causes. The organizations have raised over $150,000 in donations collectively. Some of these organizations include:

  • The Bail Project is a nonprofit organization that focuses on mass incarceration and racism in the U.S. legal system, and ways to end it.
  • The Cade Foundation provides support for families with infertility.
  • Relationship Unleashed works to empower and assist those affected by HIV/AIDS, domestic violence, and mental health.

☁️ Conclusion ☁️

Lil Nas X’s impact will remain constant throughout the history of American music. His contribution towards many organizations and charities is just one way this is apparent. His defiance of standards set by society helped pave the way towards a more accepting and informed world. He plays a massive role in representing other black people in a world where heteronormativity is exceptionally apparent.

“I know that you want to cry, but it’s much more to life, than dying over your past mistakes, and people who threw dirt on your name.” – Sun Goes Down by Lil Nas X

“If using my voice and expressing myself in my music can help even one kid out there who feels alone, then it was all worth it.” – Montero Lamar Hill

“I feel like I’m opening the doors for more people. That they feel more comfortable being out. Especially in the hip-hop community.” – Montero Lamar Hill

Work Cited

Chris Malone Twitter Twitter Linkedin Linkedin More Articles Pub, 2021. (2021, October 5). Lil Nas X’s dad is featured on his ‘montero’ album. Showbiz Cheat Sheet. Retrieved December 2, 2021, from https://www.cheatsheet.com/entertainment/lil-nas-x-dad-is-featured-on-his-montero-album.html/.

Joho, J. (2021, October 29). Lil Nas X made a baby registry for ‘montero’ that’s raising lots of money for charities. Mashable. Retrieved December 2, 2021, from https://mashable.com/article/lil-nas-x-montero-charity-baby-registry.

Columbia Records, Sony Music Entertainment. “Montero Baby Registry: Lil Nas X.” Montero Baby Registry | Lil Nas X, https://www.welcometomontero.com/babyregistry/.

https://www.newsweek.com/lil-nas-x-unapologetically-gay-fans-praise-new-single-1578977

Dazed. “Lil Nas X Is Honoured with His Own Annual Day in Atlanta.” Dazed, 22 Oct. 2021, https://www.dazeddigital.com/music/article/54569/1/lil-nas-x-is-honoured-with-his-own-annual-day-in-atlanta.

“Lil Nas X Biography, Songs, & Albums.” AllMusic, https://www.allmusic.com/artist/lil-nas-xmn0003827666/biography.

Ruiz, R. (2021, October 29). Lil Nas X honored for talking about suicide, Mental Health. Mashable. Retrieved December 3, 2021, from https://mashable.com/article/lil-nas-x-suicide-mental-health-trevor-project.

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