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2021 Artist of the Year Lil Nas X Is the Star We’ve Been Waiting For

No other artist commanded headlines, airwaves, and streams in 2021 the way Lil Nas X did

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Lil Nas X Artist of the Year
Illustration by Steven Fiche

    Our 2021 Annual Report kicks off with the announcement as Lil Nas X as our Artist of the Year. As the year winds down, stay tuned for more awards, lists, and articles about the best music, film, and TV of 2021. You can find it all in one place here.


    In the 2017 film Call Me By Your Name, two lovers (Timothée Chalamet’s Elio and Armie Hammer’s Oliver) dance around a pivotal question: “Is it better to speak or to die?” It’s a question that lingers in Elio’s head in particular as he grapples with his sexuality, his acceptance of his blossoming affair with Oliver, and eventual heartbreak.

    Though Lil Nas X has said his song “MONTERO (Call Me By Your Name)” is more personal than directly linked to the Academy Award-winning film or book of the same name, the connection to a queer coming of age love story isn’t incidental.

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    The difference is that where the film is all muted tones and lush landscapes, Lil Nas X’s chart-topper “MONTERO (Call Me By Your Name)” is overt grandeur. The accompanying music video is undeniably bold. It signaled Lil Nas X’s arrival not as a plucky kid in a cowboy hat, but as a full-fledged artist in his own right. Is it better to speak or to die? He chose to speak — and he spoke loudly.

    There wasn’t another artist in 2021 who dominated headlines, charts, and streams the way Lil Nas X did, all while delivering thought-provoking art pieces and promises of more to come. A star was born a few years ago, and now he’s arrived, more of a burning comet. Consequence is thrilled to name Lil Nas X our 2021 Artist of the Year.

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