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LIL NAS X RIDES AHEAD

When you ride in out of nowhere with the biggest song in the world, it’s natural for folks to wonder what else you might have in your saddlebag.

Consider Columbia’s Lil Nas X, whose “Old Town Road” has become a behemoth for the record books. Now the innovative young star is proving there’s more where that came from. His new set, 7 EP, is vying for the top spot on this week’s chart, and new single “Panini” is #3 at Spotify U.S. and #2 at Apple Music.

Beyond his chart adventures, though, the genre-blending Atlanta native is a figure on the pop-cultural landscape with a remarkably wide appeal. He’s whipped audiences into a froth at both Stagecoach and the BET Awards; country, hip-hop and pop fans alike embrace his hybrid style. And the EP has captivated critics and amped up Grammy buzz.

“These songs, simply put, are great: vivid, funny, full of feeling and supremely catchy,” declared the L.A. Times, which dubbed him “a clear contender” for Best New Artist. Rolling Stone praised the set as “solid,” describing it as “bristling and obstreperous rap one moment, crisp and carefree pop the next.” SPIN’s review nicely captures the freshness this 20-year-old breakout brings to the scene: “The [EP] release caps two-plus months of an out-of-nowhere pop phenomenon that has outlived all reasonable expectations and become, to this grump, one of the more pure sources of joy in recent memory.”

As we ourselves noted recently of “Old Town Road” in our Grammy Chew, “This thing has crossed every known barrier, and it’s still growing. We believe Grammy—which has, in recent years, missed the boat on several culture-shifting records—will make the right call and give Lil Nas some top-tier nods.”

What’s next for Lil Nas? We’re thinking pretty much whatever he wants.

HITS LIST: AMPERSANDS
Dynamic duos (12/7a)
NEAR TRUTHS:
WINNING NOMINATIONS
I.B. Bad on music's biggest comeback (12/7a)
ON THE COVER: LADY GAGA & TONY BENNETT
It's De-Lovely. (12/7a)
ELVIS COSTELLO'S SONGS IN THE KEY
OF IF
He's got a new record to talk about. (12/8a)
RAINMAKERS: COMING GRAMMY WEEK
The hitmakers speak. (12/8a)
CHESTNUTS
Roasting.
STOCKINGS
Stuffing.
PIPERS
Piping.
SANTA
Coming.
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