Ever since Lil Nas X dropped the bomb that is “Old Town Road,” he hasn’t slowed down yet, releasing song after song for our eclectic enjoyment. Just this week, he dropped yet another remix to his country-trap hit with “Old Town Road (Remix)” featuring Billy Ray Cyrus, Young Thug, and viral sensation Mason Ramsey.
Although “Old Town Road” is surely bringing in the bread and butter for the 20-year-old star, another stand-out from his 7 EP is the relationship woes banger “Panini.”
In less than two minutes, Lil Nas managed to sum up the conflicting feelings that can arise when someone reaches success. Friends can start to change and lovers can switch sides faster than a #1 Billboard rise:
“Ayy, Panini, don’t you be a meanie
Thought you wanted me to go up
Why you tryna keep me teeny?”
Whether securing a new job, going away to college, or simply coming into your own, let’s face it, the come-up can leave certain people who were once rooting for you feeling insecure. The even harsher truth is, we can be that very person looking in from the outside trying to control our jealousy. Meanwhile, Lil Nas is singing to us:
“I thought you want this for my life, for my life
Said you wanted to see me thrive, you lied.”
Who knew the young cowboy would go from a song about horses to the real trials of everyday growth. Bringing such personal stories to his music can only result in better songs from Lil Nas that’ll last beyond a one-hit wonder.
Musically, the song also sounds fresh. Lil Nas doesn’t shy away from the country feels thanks to the whistle that intros the track. Then the emotive synths that ground the song add more feeling to the thumping percussion. Add a somber chorus with a melody lifted from the Nirvana track “In Bloom,” and we’ve got a winner.
Don’t get me wrong, “Old Town Road” will probably be played at cookouts and stadiums for years to come. But with songs like “Panini,” Lil Nas is establishing himself as a true artist who’s not afraid to be vulnerable. His recent coming out should prove that the layers are only going to get pulled back even more as he continues to grow.
If you’re curious as to how “Panini” was crafted, you can watch producers Take A Daytrip talk about their process with Lil Nas in Genius’ “Deconstructed” below.