SOUNDS FAMILIARBaby A. Gil – The Philippine Star

October 6, 2021 | 12:00am

I know Justin Bieber remains hot. The MTV Video Music Awards’ (VMAs) Artist of the Year, youngest solo artist to notch 100 hits in Billboard’s Hot 100, another No. 1 selling single in Stay with The Kid LAROi, a collaboration with the Wizkid and Tems in Essence, a movie and a tour coming up. And he is only 27 years old.

There is also Drake, the hip-hop star with the sunshiny smile. I look at his photos and he always has this bright countenance. He literally lights up his surroundings. He has the No. 1 album in Certified Lover Boy plus hit singles in Way 2 Sexy with Future and Young Thug, Knife Talk with 21 Savage and Project Pat and Girls Want Girls with Lil Baby at the same time.

Bieber and Drake are big and they do make great music. But they are not as fascinating as Lil Nas X who brings excitement with everything he does. I may be mistaken but the last time that a pop artist held fans enthralled in this manner was in the time of Madonna during the ‘80s and ‘90s.

We held our breaths then over what the Material Girl will do next. Will she be nice, sexy, shocking, etc., etc.? Whatever the result, she was never a disappointment. And now here is Lil Nas X, all of 22 years old strutting around with oodles of excitement and he has been in the music business only a little over two years.

Interesting newcomer, they said, when Nas dropped Old Town Road in 2019. Then, he got into a collab of the same tune with country music star Billy Ray Cyrus and made chart history. Suddenly, he was the biggest newbie ever with a 15 times Platinum single with a record breaking 19 weeks stay at No. 1 in the Hot 100. Lucky boy. Still, they said the boy was a one-hit wonder who would not last.

And then Nas came out. Merging country music and rap in Old Town Road was daring enough but whoever heard of a gay kid in hip-hop. He was pushing things too far. But by then, Lil Nas X had become too big to tear down. Besides, it turned out that he is not only lucky or daring. He is a dynamic bundle of talent and creativity who is also honest to boot.

Proof of this was the single Montero (Call Me by Your Name), which is a love letter to his future self by his real name Montero and which was inspired by the movie Call Me By Your Name about a gay love affair. It asks the question of do you truly love your neighbor as yourself? Enough to call them by your own name? And that was what Nas was doing, being honest about what he truly is. The song became his second No. 1 seller.

Nas created and co-directed a very special video for Montero. It was named Video of the Year at the VMAs. He mixed images and messages from the Bible, Greek mythology, world history and pop culture into one entrancing package. Then, he presented it in the most lavish and daring computer-generated images ever seen in a music video.

Lil Nas X’s restless mind was also at work in his next single, Industry, featuring Jack Harlow. He went to prison and to hell, and did a lap dance on the devil. He has more eye-popping ideas in his latest, That’s What I Want. Again, he tempts his audience to take these apart and dissect every frame of what could be other Video of the Year winners.

Lil Nas X is an artist now wallowing in creative juices and he has poured oodles of these in the album Montero (Call Me by Your Name). You will find the 15 tracks fun, danceable, strangely sad, involving and filled with the devil-may-care bravado of the brutally honest.

Get a load of these titles: Dead Right Now, The Art of Realization, Scoop with Doja Cat; One of Me with Elton John; Lost in the Citadel, Dollar Sign Slime with Megan Thee Stallion; Tales of Dominica; Sun Goes Down, Void, Don’t Want It; Life After Salem; Am I Dreaming with Miley Cyrus and the three singles released earlier.

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