Album Review: Lil Nas X’s ‘7’
Lil Nas X just released his debut project, an EP titled 7, and I am here to tell you that this young man’s winning streak is not close to being over. For one, “Old Town Road” is still sitting atop the Billboard Hot 100 — 11 weeks and counting — but this lil EP he just dropped? I wasn’t ready.
The eight-track EP is book-ended by the “Old Town Road” remix (featuring Billy Ray Cyrus) and the original version. It seems to be his way of reminding the listener of why we’re all here in the first place. “Old Town Road” has never been my cup of tea, but I was fascinated enough by his story to want to hear what he had to offer. As you’re about to find out, I was not disappointed.
The second track is a song called “Panini,” which sounds like what a Travis Scott song would sound like if Travis Scott committed to making songs that were sonically pleasing. Lil Nas X goes from rapping to singing and rapping again on the track, which is under 2 minutes long. The refrain is sung over a drum beat that makes you think the song is about to transition from hip-hop to rock, but then X brings it back. “Panini” is by far the best on the EP and Lil Nas X would be an idiot to not make it a single while we have this good weather.
The next track is “F9mily (You & Me), which is a rock song through and through. If it reminds you of Blink 182, it’s because the song was produced by Travis Barker. As far as rock songs go, it’s not half-bad, but I won’t be listening to this one on my free time.
“Kick It” is another chune. We get a lot of bass, but we also get horns and violins. And while it is certainly a hip-hop song, it dips in and out of rock in certain segments.
The song starts with Lil Nas X rapping about his new-found fame and how old associates are being hella chummy so they can kick it. On the second verse, he appears to be reciting words from an angry old associate who’s mad about being curved and turns on X, saying that he’ll fall off in two months. It’s an interesting song that feels like a little more personal than the rest of the album, and from a purely musical standpoint, it is truly amazing. If “Panini” is No. 1, “Kick It” is definitely No. 2.
Lil Nas X recruited Cardi B for “Rodeo,” which sounds like a third (and much better) version of “Old Town Road.” Bardi’s verse is full of quotables that are sure to be coming to an IG caption near you.
“Rodeo” is followed by “Bring U Down,” which X had previewed on IG months ago. The snippet sounded promising and the full song did not disappoint. Like “F9mily,” this is also a full-blown rock song, but the only difference is that I would listen to this one without being forced.
The EP’s seventh track (and the last of the new material) is a song called “C7losure (You Like),” which was produced by Allen Ritter and hitmaker Boi-1da. The track sounds like something you’d expect from Daniel Bedingfield, Shift K3y or some other white Brit who mixes R&B and EDM. It’s no “Panini,” but it’s a solid track.
I remain in awe of Lil Nas X’s story. Even if it ended with “Old Town Road,” it would be remarkable, but after listening to 7, it is clear that Lil Nas X will be around till at least 2020. In just under 20 minutes, he showed us a great deal of range and dispelled any thoughts about his ability to make another hit. If 2019 did nothing else right, it gave us Lil Nas X, and for that, we owe it gratitude.
Album rating: 7.5 out of 10 stars.