Hello, I’m MusiCommentator, and it’s been quite a stellar year for rising artist Lil Nas X. His breakout single “Old Town Road” (we’ve all heard it by now) is still at #1 as of me writing this, he’s picked up numerous cosigns for all genres, and he’s now released a professional EP, which I will go into today.
When talking about Lil Nas X, we don’t have to go too far back to cover his background. His fame started with “Old Town Road” (which I did a Song Of The Week and an informal essay on). The song started as a meme, but once Billboard removed it from the country charts, the song became a talking point for musical politics. This was only bolstered by the Billy Ray Cyrus remix of the track, which helped the song top the charts for a very long time. I personally am invested as a music fan in Lil Nas X’s career, as I see him having a very unique path in the music industry. This obviously means I have been hyped for the release of this EP, which I am excited to review right now!
#1: Old Town Road (ft. Billy Ray Cyrus) [Remix]
While I have addressed this version of “Old Town Road” in my essay (linked above in the intro), I have never expressed my personal opinion of this remix on my blog. On my Song Of The Week about the original (ALSO linked above), I gave the song gratifying praise about its originality, catchy lyrics, and genre-bending. This remix does all of that ten times better and almost puts the original to shame! Billy Ray’s inclusion not only makes the song feel less gimmicky–as he helps flesh the song out to a better length–but he also helps bend the lines of hip-hop and country even more with his braggadocious lyrics. His performance is much more astonishing than I expected, as he flows well on his verse. The two provide great chemistry with one another that make this the hit it is. I could keep going on about this song but I have seven more to cover and I’ll probably end up talking about this remix later on, so I’ll leave it at that. Just know that this is easily one of my favorite singles of the year so far!
This song was released as a single the day before the whole EP was released, and while it took me a few listens to get into, I thoroughly enjoy this track now. The beat is the most “hip-hop sounding” beat on the project, but it does go pretty hard. Lil Nas X delivers specifically vague lyrics that can be interpreted as him talking to either a jealous, old flame or his haters. It’s a pretty generic topic for rappers to cover, but I like the way he words his lyrics which lead to this double-interpretation. The drum-breakdown in the chorus is also incredible–maybe the best part of the beat on here.
#3: F9mily (You & Me)
I’m not ashamed to admit that I follow Lil Nas X on Twitter, and before the release of this EP, he was constantly dropping snippets and teasers of future songs that would be on this project. A 24-second snippet from this song was always surfacing on my timeline due to this, and I was really excited to see how the whole song turned out. Fortunately for me, it turned out to be a great song! This song is pure rock, something we haven’t seen from Lil Nas X yet, and with Travis Barker on production, there was no way this song wasn’t going to have a fantastic beat. As with all Barker production, it is heavily centered around the drums, which add a sense of liveliness to the song. The only downside this track has is its lyrical deficiency. I’ve looked at the lyrics multiple times now and I have yet to figure out the message or meaning of the song. But hey, I’d be damned if the lyrics weren’t fun to sing along to.
#4: Kick It
After three good tracks, we get to the first weak song this EP has to offer. The chorus on here is especially weak, specifically when he uses a choppier flow at the beginning of it. The beat isn’t super impressive either. The saxophone sample is absolutely marvelous, and the beat is best during that neat instrumental interlude, but the rest of the beat feels subpar. Lyrically, this song takes the role of fans and critics alike who are praising and predicting his future in the music world. The lyrics are probably the best aspect of this otherwise bland track, but they’re certainly not enough to save this song from being skippable.
#5: Rodeo (ft. Cardi B)
With Lil Nas X’s biggest single being a country-trap crossover, I was surprised that this was the only other country-trap song on this project. Of course, it’s not as good as “Old Town Road”, but it’s still one of the better songs on the EP. The dirty guitar riff used on the track gives it a more southern feel than “Old Town Road”, and the trap elements compliment it perfectly. Lil Nas X has an even better country accent than on “Old Town Road”, too, especially on the refrain. Lyrically, Lil Nas, talks about the troubles and breakup of his relationship with an unnamed girl, which works well with the “rodeo” metaphor. I know a lot of people have complained about Cardi B’s contributions, but I think she does a serviceable job. She pretty much does what she does best, and while it’s not always on topic, it works well enough.
#6: Bring U Down
This track is another one inspired heavily by rock, and again, the production is phenomenal. Instead of Travis Barker, Ryan Tedder of OneRepublic is behind the boards on this track, and he does a better job than I thought he would. The bassline on here is killer, as it feels like it fits in a real rock song, and the rest of the instruments around it make it feel authentic. And that guitar solo…ooh, that sweet, sweet guitar solo. I’m also a big fan of the lyrics on here, as they do a better job at what the second verse of “Kick It” was trying to do. Lil Nas X takes the perspective of people who are trying to sabotage his career, and he does a good job at filling their shoes while simultaneously criticizing their actions, this all comes to a head in the repetitive but catchy chorus. I know I’m going to come back to this track a lot!
#7: C7osure (You Like)
This is what I would consider the final track off the EP, and it’s…meh. While the rest of the production on this project has been good, this beat feels underwhelming. The sole piano sounds like a loop that would be used in any other rap song and the drums feel stale. The lyrics are pretty good, as Lil Nas talks sadly about having to leave someone he loves. They’re probably the most introspective lyrics out of any song on here, but again, just like with “Kick It”, they’re not enough to save the song.
#8: Old Town Road
This is the ACTUAL final track off this EP. As previously stated, I’ve talked about this version of the song a couple of times now, so you can go see those posts if you want to read my thoughts. What I will say is that from a marketing perspective, I understand why this version of the track was put on here, but from a listener’s perspective, this placement is clunky. It doesn’t really work as a closing track, and since we already got the remix of the song earlier on in the EP, it’s almost pointless to have it on here. But, as a singular track, I still like this song.
I’d say this was a pretty successful EP. The best part of this project is easily the production. Lil Nas X got a lot of good producers on here, such as Take A Daytrip, Ryan Tedder, and Travis Barker, which led to an eclectic mix of sounds that Lil Nas worked well over. The variety of the beats is also great, as Lil Nas experiments with country, rock, and much more on this EP. Lil Nas X himself gave some good performances as well. No matter what the genre, he made his voice fit in with it well, and it leads this project to be quite a diverse listen. I went through some of the minor problems I had with each of the songs above, but there are a couple problems I have with the project as a whole. The biggest one deals with Lil Nas himself. While he fits well over all the production he is given, this makes him a bit too much of a musical chameleon. Being a new artist and this being his first big project, it’s pivotal that Lil Nas X give a defined voice and character to his audience to latch onto, and Lil Nas is so diverse in this project that he fails to do this. If I were to listen to any of these songs without knowing Lil Nas X is the artist, I would bet money that I wouldn’t be able to guess he made the song. Still, that does not stop the project from being an enjoyable listen, and I can see myself returning to a lot of these songs in the future.
My favorite song, of course, is the “Old Town Road” remix. It’s not even a question. His meshing of genres is perfect, the performances are flawless, and it never seems to get old, even after I’ve listened to it for the 178th time. My least favorite is “C7osure (You Like)”. It was a tough decision between this song and “Kick It”, as their pros and cons pretty much evened out in my head, but when I considered which song I was least likely to return to, I decided that “C7osure” was my least favorite.
Overall, I would give Lil Nas X’s “7” an 8 out of 10. Do you agree?
Thank you for reading my “7” EP review. If you liked this review, make sure to follow my website, Twitter, and Instagram, like this post, and be sure to check in to read my future reviews. Also, if you have something you want to see me review, tell me in the comments. Until then, keep on listening to good music! I know I will.