Lil Nas X — 7 EP
Like most people, I had never heard of Lil Nas X prior to the controversy surrounding his breakout single, "Old Town Road," being removed from country music charts because it "wasn't country music." The argument seemed incredibly stupid, and included a lot of loosely-veiled racism depending on whose reaction one sought out. Lil Nas X's response was very novel, enlisting Billy Ray Cyrus to appear on a remix of the track. The ensuing collaboration ended up producing potentially the biggest song of the summer of 2019, catapulting Lil Nas X into the spotlight on the back of his music rather than some quabbling over genre classification.
Now, several months after blowing up, we've got the 7 EP, with 6 new tracks and both versions of the aforementioned "Old Town Road." This release is a great introduction to an upcoming artist. If you expected more country-trap bangers like "Old Town Road," you're out of luck; Lil Nas X seems very self-aware and instead put together a nicely varied mix of material. While it's still possible he could turn out to be a one-hit-wonder, Lil Nas X looks to be doing everything right, to avoid being consigned to that fate. 7 EP is only loosely trap, nevermind the lack of any country elements outside of the "Old Town Road" cuts.
With a 16-minute running time, this EP is a very brief listen, but also very enjoyable. The second single from the release, "Panini," is an ear-catching piece of auto-croon with a really ear-catching hook. According to the credits, "Panini" includes an interpolation of Nirvana's "In Bloom," which I wouldn't have noticed otherwise. (It felt familiar, but not in any obvious sense.) The rest of the EP blends some guitar influences and short samples with a more traditional R&B style. The deepest into trap territory the EP gets is "Rodeo," which features a solid verse from the ever-filthy Cardi B which is good but doesn't outshine the rest of the track.
My two favourite tracks are "Bring It Down" and "C7osure (You Like)," as they feature the best hooks on the record and showcase Lil Nas X's proficiency at writing them. Lyrically, this isn't an extremely deep set of recordings, but the combination of tight beat production and a propensity for ear-worm choruses goes a long way here. There's no filler here, just a really strong set of tracks from an up-and-coming artist who seems to be armed with sufficient talent and self-awareness to become a huge star. The 7 EP is great, both as a collection of music and as a sign that Lil Nas X has the chops to be more than a passing fad.
Riding on the back of the smash hit single "Old Town Road," and the remix inspired by its controversial removal from country charts, Lil Nas X drops a well-crafted EP that should both shatter any preconceptions one may have about him and make for an enjoyable listen. Borrowing from Nine Inch Nails and Nirvana, with minimal guest features, Lil Nas X blends a variety of influences into an experimental rap / R&B style that works exceedingly well. The 7 EP is a perfect teaser for a full-length album that I cannot wait to hear now.
Release date: June 21st, 2019
Record label: Columbia Records
Lil Nas X — vocals, production (track 4)
Billy Ray Cyrus — vocals (track 1)
Cardi B — vocals (track 5)
YoungKio — production (tracks 1, 8)
Take a Daytrip — production (tracks 2, 5)
Dot da Genius — production (track 2)
Barker — production (track 3)
Bizness Boi — production (track 4)
Fwdslxsh — production (track 4)
Alone In A Boyband — production (track 4)
Lenzo — production (track 5)
Chell — production (track 5)
Tedder — production (track 6)
Skelton — production (track 6)
Boi-1da — production (track 7)
Ritter — production (track 7)
Abaz — production (track 7)
X-Plosive — production (track 7)
- Old Town Road (Remix)
- F9mily (You & Me)
- Kick It
- Bring U Down
- C7osure (You Like)
- Old Town Road
Published: July 10th, 2019.