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Has Lil Nas X found the formula for musical success?

On Aug. 25, rapper Lil Nas X took to Twitter to announce the release of his first album “Montero,” which is set to drop on Sept. 17 of this year and features the musical talents of Jack Harlow, Doja Cat, Megan Thee Stallion, Elton John and Miley Cyrus. 

Unlike other mainstream music artists, Lil Nas is heading into his first album with not one, not two, but six platinum singles, with his latest song “Industry Baby” on track to go platinum before the album release.

As the most streamed rapper on Spotify, it would seem as though Lil Nas has cracked the code for success, but are his feats really just chance?

One of Lil Nas’ greatest assets is his social media presence. He got his start on TikTok by promoting his pop-country anthem “Old Town Road,” and he certainly hasn’t abandoned the app that boosted him into the spotlight. 

Lil Nas posts frequently on his personal page @lilnasx, sharing promotional material, behind-the-scenes music video content and reposts of TikTok trends launched by his own music. 

He also regularly updates his Twitter account, shamelessly promoting his music and retweeting posts and memes created by fans.

His personability has certainly touched his fans’… hearts. Lil Nas is well aware of the power of the internet and panders his posts to his young audience. 

Some of his most notable promotional stunts have included stealing other artists’ promotional material and reclaiming it as his own, claiming that his music is going to be banned and begging fans to stream, in addition to promising sexual acts and pornographic material in exchange for streams. 

Another thing Lil Nas does well is lean into the controversy surrounding him. When his single “Montero (Call Me by Your Name)” was released and received significant backlash from conservative evangelicals, he tweeted an “official apology” that was actually a link to the music video. 

While Lil Nas has mastered the cynical humor of Gen Z, his music is anything but a joke.

After “Old Town Road,” Lil Nas waited nearly nine months before releasing “Panini” as a single, and his album comes almost three years after the initial release of “Old Town Road”.

Lil Nas has addressed the length of time between his releases, stating in a tweet that “putting maximum effort into 1 song at a time takes much more ‘work’ than dropping a bunch of songs every 3 months. Just because you don’t see the work i’ve done doesn’t mean i haven’t done work.”

And work he certainly has. Before the release of “Montero,” the titular song of the album, Lil Nas began taking pole dancing lessons in order to prepare for the music video. This incredible effort isn’t lost on fans.

“Because of the extended period of time between his releases, his music is much higher quality. You can tell how much work he puts in,” said Nick Rogers, a senior biomedical science major.

And as long as Lil Nas continues to express gratitude towards his fans, produce quality content and keep the memes flowing, his future success is inevitable.

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