Lil Nas X No. 1 again with Montero

SOUNDS FAMILIAR - Baby A. Gil - The Philippine Star
Lil Nas X No. 1 again with Montero
The beat might be fun and danceable but Lil Nas X’s Montero is actually heavy stuff. It comes with a letter that the would be hip-hop hitmaker wrote to the 14-year-old Montero Lamar Hill when he faced and accepted his sexuality
STAR / File

Did you know that Lil Nas X was named after the Mitsubishi Montero vehicle? He is Montero Lamar Hill in real life. Strange way to name a kid. Who would want to name his son Expedition or Corolla? Thunderbird might work but he should grow up to be really special just like a thunderbird.

Well, Montero means huntsman from the mountain in Spanish. The guy was no big deal in the old days. But because of the recent popularity of the SUV, the name has acquired a swashbuckling quality like it can be expected to perform great feats.

This was probably what Lil Nas X was thinking when he decided to title his new single Montero (Call Me By Your Name). That means not after the car or the hunter but after himself, whom he regards as special and capable of accomplishing great things. Great indeed because Montero is now his second No. 1 seller.

Remember Lil Nas X? He just turned 22 last April 9. Two years ago, he was a 20-year-old freshman college dropout from Atlanta on the verge of becoming homeless. What he was good at was working the Internet, YouTube, Twitter, Facebook and most of all, TikTok. You name it and Lil Nas X knew what to do with it.

One day, he posted his song Old Town Road that he set to a beat he bought for $30 online. It was a hip-hop experiment with a country twist. It got a lot of movement, especially on TikTok that Lil Nas X got signed to record for the Sony label. Then country music star Billy Ray Cyrus agreed to do a remix and what turned out to be a hilarious video of the song.

Old Town Road with Cyrus soared up to No. 1 in the hit charts. That remix stayed on top for an historic 19 weeks, the most ever and also the first-time ever in Billboard’s Hot 100 list. Along with that, Lil Nas X became one of the hottest names in pop music.

Now, how do you follow-up something like Old Town Road? Lil Nas X probably wondered, too. He made some efforts. The singles Panini and Rodeo, as well as the Grammy-nominated EP, 7. He did Holiday which brought Santa Claus and the North Pole to the cyber age. Then came Montero.

Hip-hop is generally considered a macho music genre. You know, macho like Diddy, Jay-Z, Eminem, Kanye West, Kendrick Lamar, Drake, etc. Even females who do hip-hop take on a masculine stance in their themes.

Lil Nas X though is no conformist. No way would he allow himself to be pigeon-holed inside what others believe is right. Just as he bent country music rules by giving it a hip-hop flavor, he bravely came out as gay while his song was No. 1 and won acceptance.

Revealing and honest, Montero celebrates that acceptance. It was inspired by the movie Call Me By Your Name and begs the question of do you truly love your neighbor as yourself? Enough to call them by your own name?

The beat might be fun and danceable but Montero is actually heavy stuff. It comes with a letter that the would be Lil Nas X wrote to the 14-year-old Montero Lamar Hill when he faced and accepted his sexuality.

“I wrote a song with our names in it. It’s about a guy I met last summer. I know we promised to never come out publicly. I know we promised to never be that type of gay person. I know we promised to die with the secret, but this will open doors for many other queer people to simply exist. You see this is very scary for me. People will be angry. They will say I am pushing an agenda. But the truth is I am. The agenda to make people stay the f*ck out of other people’s lives and stop dictating who they should be. Sending you love from the future.” It is signed LNX.

For more of what goes on in Lil Nas X’s loaded and restless head as Montero, make sure you watch the video. The temptation to take apart, dissect, discuss or whatever every frame will be huge. But better to abstain from that. Maybe later.

For now, just enjoy the mix of the Bible, Greek mythology, world history and pop culture that he has mixed together using the most lavish computer-generated images ever seen in a music video.


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