'Long Live Montero' Reveals Lil Nas X as the Funnest Person in the World to Hang Out With

Directed by Carlos López Estrada and Zac Manuel

Photo courtesy of Sony Music Entertainment

BY Alex HudsonPublished Sep 10, 2023


Following the world premiere of Lil Nas X: Long Live Montero, the star born Montero Hill appeared on stage at Toronto's Roy Thomson Hall for a live Q&A, and the first question from an audience member was, simply, "Can we hang out?" The fan added, "You seem like the funnest person on earth to hang out with."

That was definitely one of the takeaways from Long Live Montero, a documentary that focuses on the artist's 2022 tour in support of his debut album, 2021's MONTERO. He's willing to be open and vulnerable when talking about sexuality, family, and the cultural challenges of being Black and gay — but he's also hilarious and irreverent, hamming it up for the camera and affecting a surprisingly good English accent.

It's part concert film, part behind-the-scenes character study. As great as MONTERO's pop songs are, and as impressively lavish as the concert staging is, the best parts by a mile take place away from the stage. He goes on intimate, reflective monologues while reclining in bed shirtless, experiences a newfound sense of freedom when hanging out in an arcade with the fellow Black and queer men who make up his backup dancers, and speaks at length about when the best time to poop before a show is. There's a surprisingly graphic vomit scene, and he empathetically reflects on the homophobes protesting outside of his shows.

It's a lot of content for just an hour and a half, especially when directors Carlos López Estrada and Zac Manuel give space for fans and queer people to discuss their own experiences, and a young actor depicts Lil Nas X watching TV as a child. The frantic pace threatens to overwhelm the first few scenes, which bounce around in time between live shows, pre-tour rehearsals, and Lil Nas X's big break in 2019 with "Old Town Road." But credit goes to editor Andrew Morrow for fitting it all in, as the film settles into a groove in the second half when the pace slows, and the comedy is toned down in favour of introspection.

Usually, the quality of a music doc depends on the degree to which an artist is willing to shed their persona and portray themselves in an unflattering light (which is rare of a film paid for by its subject's record label). In the case of Long Live Montero, howeverm it succeeds by portraying Lil Nas X as exactly who fans think him as: a provocative queer icon, a driven artist with a lot more depth than he was initially given credit for, and a quick-witted jokester who knows when to undercut a serious moment. If Lil Nas X ever wants to hang out, my email address can be found on the contact page.


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