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Indiana Daily Student

COLUMN: Lil Nas X's upcoming album could be his best project yet

<p>Lil Nas X poses for a portrait at Cactus Cube Studio on Dec. 5, 2019, in West Hollywood, California.</p>

Lil Nas X poses for a portrait at Cactus Cube Studio on Dec. 5, 2019, in West Hollywood, California.

I didn't think I'd see a Michael J. Fox "Back to the Future" cameo in a trailer for a Santa themed music video for the latest Lil Nas X song, but it happened anyway.

Honestly, I didn't think I'd see a lot of things until Lil Nas X came into the music scene. After taking over the music industry for a year straight with hits like the country infused "Old Town Road" and the cartoonish "Panini," he was very clearly setting up a style for himself.

His latest song, and its accompanying music video, showcases this best. Where most other artists would follow a safe and formulaic video to accompany their song, he decided to portray a futuristic version of Santa Claus. In a myriad of costume changes and admittedly bad special effects, he manages to capture such a strange presentation of himself. He doesn't care to be taken seriously, and he acknowledges that in his lyrics.

Despite that, Lil Nas X has garnered a strong following. Though his first album is long overdue, I barely even noticed it's been months since he released new music. He's incredibly active online, and regularly makes headlines for his antics, be it his controversial Halloween costume or throwing a concert on the videogame Roblox. I almost forget he's a music artist sometimes. It honestly feels like an afterthought.

That said, his music, as much fun as he has with it, does have its serious moments. He's one of the few openly gay and Black rappers, the only others I know of being members of BROCKHAMPTON and Jaden Smith. Where most rappers like to tout their sexual prowess with women, Lil Nas X isn't afraid to talk about his sexuality as it pertains to men. With the casualness he carries when he raps about it, it's nice to see such a topic be treated as normal.

It's what makes me excited for his new album. The snippets he's posted online show he's far more open about his sexuality on this project.

Pair that with how often he blends genres, using elements of pop, country, trap and hip-hop, the young artist knows how to create a distinctive soundscape for himself. There aren't many people who sound like him, and he knows that.

Above all, though, is that personality of his. Lil Nas X has managed to bridge generational gaps time and time again. It's no small feat to start your career with a collaboration with a legend like Billy Ray Cyrus. And then Cardi B. And then Nas. And then DaBaby. All before there's been an album with Lil Nas' name to it.

And he's so unapologetic about it all. When other artists have to fit neatly in some kind of stereotype to get the level of success they have, he doesn't falter at all. What other music artists are making songs about relatively obscure cartoon characters, and having them chart at that? Who else is getting Michael J. Fox for their music videos?

Lil Nas X somehow manages to bring stars of eras he wasn't even born for, along with today's pop stars, and make something utterly unique. I can only wait with excitement for his next album.

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