Source: Lil Nas X
Ever since the release of his hit track “Old Town Road” in 2018, rapper Lil Nas X has been one of the most high-profile artists in the music industry today. Following the success of his debut, the young artist would win awards and nominations, winning the Song of the Year at the 2019 MTV VMAs—becoming the first LGBTQ+ artist to do so. In addition, Lil Nas X would continue to release strings of hits like “Panini” and “Rodeo.”
Two and a half years after taking the world by storm, Lil Nas X has finally appeased his fans on September 17 with the release of his highly-anticipated debut LP Montero. Debuting at No. 2 upon release on the Billboard 200 albums chart, Lil Nas X is right behind Drake’s Certified Lover Boy, which remains on top for the third week.
Certified Lover Boy made a massive impact with the biggest opening-week numbers in over a year, selling 4,000 copies as a complete package with 222 million streams in the United States alone. According to MRC Data, a tracking service owned by Billboard’s parent company, the album holds an accumulated 171,000 sales, allowing Certified Lover Boy to stay clear on top of the table with a comfortable margin. In three weeks, Drake’s album has logged an equivalent of 1 million in sales with nearly 1.3 billion streams. Eleven years after Thank Me Later, Drake has repeated the feat of staying on top of the weekly Billboard 200 album chart 30 times.
While Drake is enjoying the view from the top, Lil Nas X has been slowly climbing the chart as his closest competitor. In the opening week, Montero made a total of 147 million streams and 126,000 sales, boosting Lil Nas X straight to second place.
Montero features fifteen tracks with guest artists like Elton John, Megan Thee Stallion, Doja Cat, and Miley Cyrus joining Lil Nas X’s first official LP since his EP 7. The eight-track EP released in 2019 featured three of his hits: “Old Town Road,” “Panini,” and “Rodeo” with guest appearances by Cyrus, Travis Barker, and Cardi B. Much like Montero, 7 peaked at No. 2 on the album chart upon release.
While “Old Town Road” was one of the most successful songs of 2019, many people were quick to dismiss Lil Nas X as a one-hit-wonder, prompting him to divert from the country rap sound that had helped launch him into mainstream media and instead focus on rap, pop, and R&B with influence from Drake and Nicki Minaj. Throughout 2020, the artist would record a series of demos, teasing the album’s lead single “Montero (Call Me by Your Name)” on Twitter. An official music video was later released, breathing life into the lyrics’ queer themes. Lil Nas X would later release the video for “Sun Goes Down,” continuing his theme. Finally, Columbia Records officially released Montero with a livestream on YouTube that has Lil Nas X interviewing himself as Montero in a fictional daytime talk show.