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From controversial blood-filled Nike Airmax 97’s, to an erotic Lap dance on to the dark underload himself, Lil Nas X certainly knows how to perform for his audience.

Though this is a theatre blog, very much devoted to the performances on stage and screen, one cannot avoid the reality that performance art is not constrained to that of a theatre. Montero Lamar Hill, stage name Lil Nas X has been one of the most entertaining male pop stars of his generation, but why? Simple. He knows how to captivate his audience and performs accordingly.

His debut album ‘Montero’ released on the 17th of September 2021 is a collection of his recent singles, and new tracks featuring some huge names like Jack Harlow and Megan Thee Stallion. But amongst the collaborations are three incredible songs with three incredible performance artists.

SCOOP featuring Doja Cat is an incredibly simple, yet catchy song about his rise to stardom. As lyrics go it perfectly captures the reality of having to remain in the headlines to sell records, he constantly needs to be the ‘scoop’. Something which co-star Doja Cat is also known for. Aside from the fabulous wigs and costumes featured in many Doja Cat performance, there is a history of making the news for the lyrical content of some of her songs, including her song ‘Dindu Nuffin’.

Many reviewers claimed Lil Nas X would be a one hit wonder after his first single secured him as the first openly gay black man to go straight to number one in US chart history. Telling him to stick to country pop records as his niche and not to experiment. Lil Nas X proved them wrong with his follow up hits Panini, Holiday and the album’s title track MONTERO (call me by your name). Which in itself has brought much controversy, and thanks to Lil Nas X and his team has been capitalised on with a series of memes and comic posts on twitter to keep said spark alive. Which is what the song ONE OF ME featuring Elton John is all about. Another huge name in the LGBT and controversial performance rolodex.

His first single ‘Old Town Road’ featuring Billy Ray Cyrus, which became the longest running billboard number one single ever. Is nicely book ended with the song AM I DREAMING featuring Billy Ray’s most famous daughter Miley Cyrus. Ending the album with such an honest sad song about fading away from the starlight, taking off the costumes and ending the performance is such a powerful message. Especially when you consider the two artists performing said song!

The album alone is simply wonderful and a must listen for anyone who likes good honest lyrics, well produced music, or just wants to hear a young man experiment with sound and expression. The album is jam packed with insight, ups and downs. But it is more than an album, it is a performance piece.

Never has Lil Nas X turned up to a performance in your bog-standard suit and tie to sing a little ditty. His performance on SNL was incredible, even the costume malfunction and necking with one of his backing dancers. His outfits at the Met Gala were amongst the highlights of the event. His constant engagement on social media and his recent male pregnancy stunt for the album release, based on Drakes new album (Certified Lover Boy) art, was a stroke of genius.

Like him or loath him, you have to appreciate everything this 22-year-old has achieved in his short time, and we can’t wait to see what is next for him. MONTERO is out now!


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