photo via Columbia Records

Album Review | Lil Nas X – 7 EP

Lil Nas X’s debut album after his meteoric rise to fame.

Let’s face it, you’ve heard “Old Town Road” at some point this past year. That song is everywhere. It came out of nowhere, and the immense success has given Lil Nas X a spotlight in the hip-hop community.

With new artists emerging left and right, Lil Nas X’s debut album attempts to prove he is not a so-called “One Hit Wonder.” Integrating elements from several musical genres, Lil Nas X thrives on his unpredictability and his captivating personality.

PHOTO VIA ROLLING STONE

Old Town Road – Remix (ft. Billy Ray Cyrus)

Spending 12 weeks in a row at #1 on the Billboard Top 100 Songs is no easy feat, especially for a relatively new artist. The magic that exudes from this tune epitomizes a fascinating blend of trap production, a Cyrus cameo, and Lil Nas X’s “country voice.” There’s a reason why this song blew up, and it is because the chemistry between these two is unprecedented. Billy Ray Cyrus adds his personal country legend flair, and it works so well. We’ll get tired of it eventually (as we do with every mega hit), but for now, let’s appreciate the art that is in front of us.

Panini

Take A Daytrip’s production on this song sets up a nice melody that goes hand-in-hand with Lil Nas X’s flow. In this song, Lil Nas X displays multiple flows—whether it is his catchy chorus or his energetic bars. Not only that, the chorus interpolates the iconic band Nirvana, showcasing Lil Nas X’s ability to stray from the modern trap scene. A glimpse of what may come, Lil Nas X delivers a great track, albeit it being a bit short.

F9mily (You & Me)

Lil Nas X is no stranger to experimenting with non-traditional hip-hop music. In this track, Lil Nas X refrains from using 808s or a stereotypical trap beat and instead employs legendary drummer Travis Barker (blink-182). The end result is a clash of rock and rap, a solid effort from the Atlanta-born artist.

Kick It

Rapping from the perspective of a fake friend, Lil Nas X attempts to portray the downside of becoming famous. In this case, people want to ride Lil Nas X’s sudden rise to fame, but these same people never truly supported the artist. This message, accompanied by a trap beat and a saxophone, is pretty straightforward and honest.

Rodeo (ft. Cardi B)

When Lil Nas X blew up, people admired his ability to merge country and trap into something that sounds good. In this Take A Daytrip-produced banger, Lil Nas X embraces those country-trap elements as his own. Cardi B, in my own opinion, can add her flair to certain songs. In this case, she was not the artist that should’ve featured (if any at all). Her bars sounded like a safe verse, nothing too special. All in all, this banger is a great concept, but Lil Nas X’s choice of feature makes it a questionable song.

Bring U Down

As mentioned earlier, Lil Nas X loves to try new sounds, and this song further proves that. Giving off 90s Rock vibes, Bring U Down even has a guitar solo from Ryan Tedder (OneRepublic). Although there is not much lyrical depth, this song helps define what Lil Nas X’s style is. After all, it made the cut for this short EP.

C7osure (You Like)

Utilizing an upbeat sound, Lil Nas X tells a story about himself and some of his outlooks on life. With Boi-1da on production, it’s pre-established that the track will sound great. Lil Nas X’s high-pitched singing vocals add to his repetoire of talents. It may not be musically excellent, but it portrays his vulnerability and it is personally my favorite track from this project.

Old Town Road

I won’t say much about this track, since it is essentially the OG track that people talking about him. However, without Old Town Road, we would have never heard of Lil Nas X. If that is a good thing or a bad thing, only time will tell.

Final Take | Review 5.5/10

I know I hyped this EP a bit, but it was not a ground-breaking project from Lil Nas X. The production was really well done, with great talents contributing such as Boi-1da, Take A Daytrip, and Ryan Tedder, among others. I also enjoyed Old Town Road before its mainstream success, so it wasn’t that exciting for me when this album came out. The lyrical depth of Lil Nas X needs some improvement, but his personality, fearless approach to experimentation, and his style add immensely to the general scope of who he is as an artist. Standout tracks for me were Panini, Kick It, Rodeo, and C7osure.

Pros

Lil Nas X has various styles going on so each song isn’t generic.

The production is well done, especially for a debut album.

Lil Nas X isn’t a One Hit Wonder, but only time will tell.

Oscar Moguel

Oscar is a current undergraduate student at The Wharton School studying marketing.

July 1, 2019

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