The consequence of 2021
December 06, 2021

Consequence's artist of the year: Lil Nas X

"There wasn’t another artist in 2021 who dominated headlines, charts, and streams the way Lil Nas X did, all while delivering thought-provoking art pieces and promises of more to come. A star was born a few years ago, and now he’s arrived, more of a burning comet. Consequence is thrilled to name Lil Nas X our 2021 Artist of the Year".

"The insurmountable rise of Lil Nas X, Billy Porter, and other artists represents a paradigm shift in the culture" - Rolling Stone writes in the introduction of its piece about the year of the Black queers. "Who could have fathomed that Black queer men would be at the top of the charts, in Congress, and on TV and movie screens? We’re living in a world where not only is the Black queer community being embraced, but those who show us hate are being disgraced".

The latest MusicREDEF newsletter points out the obvious - the similarities between Lil Nas X and Little Richard: "Nas, like Richard, is a theatrical musician who combines sexualized Black art and gender-bending provocations. They both thrived in a time when the taboo nature of what they do had loud sociopolitical resonance. Like Little Richard making everything from bluesy covers of Wilbert Harrison's 'Kansas City' to seductive slow drags like 'Valley of Tears', Lil Nas X's singles since his debut hit have expanded in a scattershot of directions. They've awed and frightened a lot of adults and served as a clarion call to free-thinking, progressive-minded ribaldry".

Lil Nas X covered Dolly Parton's signature song 'Jolene' during a recent performance for BBC Radio One’s Live Lounge. Celebrating the release of his debut album 'Montero', Nas sang in a deep baritone over a sparse rock arrangement, delivering an intense, gender-flipping rendition of Parton’s 1973 hit about a woman with “flaming locks of auburn hair” who can steal men with ease.

"Whether or not you think Lil Nas X’s musical chops match his promotional acumen, you won’t be able to miss 'Montero'" - GQ points out in their piece about Lil Nas X and his use of media, concluding that this long, constantly viral rollout of 'Montero' tops even Drake and Kanye.

Lil Nas X and his jaw dropping video for 'Montero: Call Me By Your Name' won Video of the Year at MTV Video Music Awards. Olivia Rodrigo won the award for Best New Artist, as well as Song of the Year for 'Drivers Licence'. Billie Eilish won the Video For Good award for her single 'Your Power'. Pitchfork picks out the best and worst bits of the awards. Check out all the winners at MTV.

New figures out of the US this week suggest that biggest hits are increasingly becoming smaller, Music Business Worldwide suggests, based on the latest streaming figures. The industry’s biggest streaming hit at the mid-year point of 2021 is significantly smaller than its biggest streaming hit at the mid-year point of 2020, of 2019, and of 2018. The biggest hit of H1 2021 in the US was Olivia Rodrigo’s 'drivers license', which attracted 460 million on-demand audio streams during the six months. In 2020 the biggest hit was Roddy Ricch’s 'The Box' with 728 million streams in the first half of the year, the prior year it was Lil Nas X’s 'Old Town Road' with 596 million streams, whereas in 2018 Drake’s 'God’s Plan' pulled in 655 million audio streams. This is all especially odd, of course, when you consider the massive growth in streaming’s popularity between 2017 and 2021. MBW offers a few explanations - it's a Covid-inspired anomaly, or maybe people are listening more to catalog music (older than year and a half).

In 2008 Katty Perry released her hit-single 'I Kissed A girl'. "For as groundbreaking as it felt to hear a woman explicitly singing about being with another woman then, it would take another 13 years for a man explicitly singing about being with another man to appear on the charts — enter Lil Nas X’s 'MONTERO (Call Me By Your Name)'" - The Pudding goes into the history of same-sex lyrics in pop songs.

"Lil Nas X used one of America’s most reliable engines for cultural outrage to his advantage: the conservative media ecosystem... With the 'Montero' video, Nas affirmed his personal identity as one of vanishingly few out gay rappers by expressing himself as flamboyantly and unabashedly as possible. He actively courted the controversy, measuring his success by the outrage and teeth-gnashing of his opponents - an approach straight out of the conservative culture-war playbook" - Politico analyses how the rapper turned the weapons against the shooter. He was prepared for this social-media battle - "for years as a teenager, Nas operated a popular Twitter account that reposted and repurposed viral content... He understands all too well that in 2021, there may be no quicker way to pump oxygen into a brand than to let partisan politics do it for you".

The devil loses to the corporation
April 09, 2021

Lil Nas X's 'Satan Shoes' to be recalled


New York art collective MSCHF which made "Satan Shoes" that purportedly contain a drop of human blood in the soles, has agreed to issue a voluntary recall as part of a legal settlement with Nike, the New York Times reports. The $1,018 trainers are modified Nike Air Max 97s, with only 666 pairs made and all but one, which Lil Nas X, who collaborated in the creation of the shoe, held so he could choose the recipient, have been shipped. MSCHF will offer full refunds to customers in order to remove the shoes from circulation. However, limited edition shoes can fetch higher prices among collectors so it is not clear how many - if any - customers will return the products.

Call me when you've got better things to say
March 31, 2021

A lesson in social media: Lil Nas X's answers to 'Montero' critics

Lil Nas X had months to plan out a strategy for the release of his latest video 'Montero (Call Me By Your Name)', which sees him ending up in hell (for being gay, right?), and taking the crown of the devil himself, as Mashable has noticed. Rapper Joyner Lucas accused him of cheating on kids who liked 'Old Town Road', to which Lil Nas X answered "i literally sing about lean & adultery in old town road. u decided to let your child listen. blame yourself". South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem was offended by the "Satan Shoes"; Lil Nas X believes she's got better things to do: "ur a whole governor and u on here tweeting about some damn shoes. do ur job!".

Nike is suing Brooklyn art collective MSCHF over a pair of "Satan Shoes" that contain a drop of real human blood in the soles, feature an inverted cross, and a pentagram, the Verge reports. MSCHF released 666 pairs of shoes in collaboration with rapper Lil Nas X who wears a pair in his latest video 'Montero (Call Me By Your Name)', where he hangs out with the devil. The trainers, which cost $1,018 a pair, sold out in less than a minute. Nike claims trademark infringement, and believes they’ve harmed its reputation since consumers might think "that Nike is endorsing satanism”. MSCHF is known for stunt products like its 2019 “Jesus Shoes”, a $1,425 pair of white Nike Air Max 97s with custom stitching and 60ccs of water from the River Jordan. Nike didn’t object to the Jesus Shoes. UPDATE: Nike's lawsuit succeeded in halting production.

Take me down to the Ro Blox road
November 18, 2020

33 millions views of Lil Nas X's Roblox show

Lil Nas X performed four virtual shows in two days in the video game Roblox, attracting 33 million views, The Verge reports. The identical shows starred a motion-captured incarnation of Lil Nas X, styled to fit in with a world that shifted to match each of the four songs he performed. It's big numbers for Lil Nas X, but a huge one for Robloxgetting into the same league with Fortnite - it hosted a performance from Travis Scott early this year that drew 45.8 million viewers across five shows.

Webby Awards winners were announced yesterday, among them: Cardi B for fashion & lifestyle, Lil Nas X for his video 'Panini', Dolly Parton for her mini-series 'America', Rihanna for her Fenty Beauty brand, Swizz Beats + Timbaland for the Verzuz battles on Instagram Live, Celine Dion for her innovation on social media. They were honored during an online celebration dubbed 'WFH: Webby From Home', which took place on Tuesday at The Webbys said this year's event is dedicated to "honoring outstanding individuals and organizations who are using the Internet in response to the incredible difficulties imposed by the coronavirus pandemic." Those Special Achievement honorees include D-Nice for his creation #ClubQuarantine, and Miley Cyrus for the creation of her Instagram Live show 'Bright Minded: Live With Miley'.

Must watch this
February 03, 2020

Rappers dominate Super Bowl commercials

In Super Bowl commercials it was mostly beers, sodas, snacks, and cars, and - rappers. H.E.R. and Missy Elliot linked up with Pepsi singing their version of Rolling Stones' 'Paint It Black'; Post Malone starred in two Bud Light commercials, Lil Nas X and Sam Elliott are dancing cowboys as Billy Ray Cyrus plays his guitar in a Doritos Cool Ranch commercial; LeBron James is the face of the new GMC Hummer EV; MC Hammer ironically stars in a new commercial for Cheetos singing his popular line “Can’t touch this”; The Roots were featured in a commercial alongside Jimmy Fallon in a funny spot.

Daddy Yankee’s 'Con Calma' feat. Snow was the most-watched YouTube video globally, and in the USA the top one was 'Old Town Road - Remix' by Lil Nas X feat. Billy Ray Cyrus. Full Top 10 lists below. Top music videos global: 1. Daddy Yankee & Snow - 'Con Calma'2. ROSALÍA, J Balvin - 'Con Altura' […]

Lizzo is nominated in all of the big four categories -- record of the year ('Truth Hurts'), album of the year ('Cuz I Love You (Deluxe)'), song of the year ('Truth Hurts') and best new artist. Following closely behind are both Billie Eilish and Lil Nas X, who each have six nominations, with Eilish also […]

'Old Town Road' has been certified 10-times platinum after selling 10 million units, which makes it the fastest in history to reach diamond status. Earlier this year, Lil Nas X broke the record with the country/hip-hop crossover hit for the longest streak of No. 1 placements on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart, sitting at No. 1 […]

Ariana Grande has seven nods at the global awards show, including bids for best artist, best song, best video, best pop and best live. Just behind with six noms for the 2019 MTV EMAs each are Shawn Mendes, Lil Nas X and Billie Eilish, with J Balvin racking up five and Taylor Swift and Lizzo […]

This week, Billie Eilish earned her first-ever No. 1 single with 'Bad Guy', ending Lil Nas X’s streak of 19 consecutive weeks at No. 1, which set an all-time record. She also became the first artist born in this century to top the Billboard Hot 100. Billboard...

Lil Nas X has set a new record with his breakout hit 'Old Town Road' - the country-trap tune is now the longest-running Hip Hop song at #1 on the Hot 100, All Hip Hop reports. 'Old Town Road' clocked its 13th week at the pinnacle of the chart, passing the respective 12-week runs for […]

Lil Nas X has opened up about his sexuality on World Pride Day, revealing to his followers on Twitter that he is a member of the LGBTQ community. He posted the video for his song 'C7osure' and urged fans to listen closely to the lyrics - "deadass thought i made it obvious" (well, maybe not that obvious). […]