“Dead Right Now” by Lil Nas X
The main addressee of “Dead Right Now”, generally speaking, would be individuals whom the vocalist has deemed as fake friends. Yes, certain junctures, such as the first few bars of the second verse, does read as if said addressee may have been a former romantic interest of the vocalist.
But as far as the first two verses go, Nas seems to be confronting a personality type more so than an individual person. And basically what he’s saying, as briefly pointed out in the trivia section, is that there was a time in his career when he wasn’t poppin’.
In fact back then, things were so bad for Nas X that he apparently contemplated suicide. But as anyone familiar with the contemporary history of the American music industry knows, he expeditiously blew up thereafter.
So that is what the singer means by the title, “dead right now”, as in that being how he perceives those who turned their backs on him back in the day. Or put more into layman’s terms, now that he’s blown up Lil Nas X is not keen, at all, on these same individuals coming around and now trying to get re-close to him.
Meanwhile, the third verse takes us in a different direction, at least as far as who the vocalist is addressing. And in this passage that would be his mom, a lady by the name of Shawnita Hathaway. This is someone the world first really became familiar with earlier in 2021 when a video of her assed-out on the streets began circulating on tabloid sites.
Of course that then begged the question of why an artist as successful as Lil Nas X would leave his mom in such a condition? His response was that “she’s an addict”, and, as illustrated in the lyrics, what she would be addicted to is alcohol.
Also, as depicted when Shawnita is boozed, which for an alcoholic would be regularly, she has/had the tendency to abuse Lil Nas. Meanwhile, under his estimation he ‘never did her wrong’. Well, many of us suffer mistreatment at the hands of parents, but let’s just say that Nas ain’t necessarily the type to forgive and forget. So as with the fake homeys from days past, he has also decided to treat his mom as if she doesn’t exist, so to speak.
So conclusively, “Dead Right Now” is like a roundabout come-up song. Many of us fantasize about how we would treat loved ones who devalue us if we were to like suddenly become rich and famous. Well some people, such as the vocalist at hand, actually got to live out that fantasy. And his reaction is perhaps a common one, i.e. if you didn’t properly love him when he needed it, then now that he has blown up, Nas would rather forget about said association altogether than entertain someone whom he feels isn’t genuine.
Facts about “Dead Right Now”
“Dead Right Now” was released on 17 September 2021, via Columbia Records, as part of Lil Nas X’s debut full-length Montero. Up until this point he’s only come out with one mixtape, 2018’s Nasarati (which didn’t make any noise) and then afterwards 2019’s 7. That latter project featured Old Town Road which, most simply put, proved to be one of the biggest hits in music history.
Old Town Road, which officially came out in 2019, was Lil Nas X’s debut single. As such, at the time many people speculated that he may prove to be a one-hit wonder. But in addition to his follow-up single, Panini (2019), selling gazillions of copies, a couple of singles from Montero, including the album’s title track and Industry Baby (featuring Jack Harlow) have been notable hits also. And upon full release, Montero (the album) has been met with critical praise, with analysts now making predictions like Lil Nas X being “the future of pop” and this very track, Dead Right Now, being heralded as one of the better songs on the project.
Lil Nas X had help writing this song via the following:
- Take a Daytrip (David Biral & Denzel Baptiste)
- Jasper Harris
- Thomas J. Levesque
And those latter three parties, along with Drew Sliger, also produced the track.
It has been noted that Nas X references his mother on some other tracks featured on Montero in addition to having done so prior earlier in his career.