After a busy year that not only saw him release a blockbuster album but also redefine what it means to be an LGBTQ pop star — and appear on the cover of Variety — Lil Nas X is primed to be a top Grammy contender. The 22-year old rapper, already a six-time nominee and two-time winner, paved the way for his long-awaited debut album, “Montero,” with a wave of masterfully orchestrated viral moments. If there were a trophy for most savvy internet user, Nas would be a shoo-in.
The album reveals the man behind the memes — opening up about self-acceptance, mental health and his sexuality. While musically, its deft mix of pop and hip-hop could follow Taylor Swift’s “Folklore” to album of the year.
Nas also seems likely for record and song of the year noms for “Montero (Call Me by Your Name).” The track and its eye-popping video shredded the hip-hop rulebook with sexually charged and unapologetically queer lyrics and imagery, a watershed moment that spurred conversation about sexuality and representation, prying open the door for others to follow.
Beyond the “big three,” Nas could be nominated in multiple hip-hop and even pop categories. “Montero (Call Me by Your Name)” could get a nom for pop solo performance, while the hard-hitting “Industry Baby,” a collaboration with Jack Harlow, is a strong contender for rap. Similarly, “Montero” could be nominated for rap or pop album, depending on how it is ultimately classified. Less likely but still possible, “That’s What I Want,” which slyly channels Outkast’s Grammy-winning 2003 song “Hey Ya,” could even sneak a nom in the pop categories.
However, another category feels like a fairly safe bet: music video. Dual noms are a distinct possibility given the viral success of Nas’ hell-bound twerking in “Montero (Call Me by Your Name)” and the controversy surrounding the nude shower choreography in “Industry Baby.”