Has Lil Nas X taken his horse down the road to hell?
The debut of the 21-year-old rapper’s NSFW music video for his new single “Montero (Call Me By Your Name),” laden with biblical imagery which challenges Christian doctrines on sex and homosexuality, has — unsurprisingly — sparked a new wave of “Satanic panic” among conservative parents.
The raunchy video opens with the queer artist in repose on some Garden of Eden-like plane of existence before he’s caught fraternizing with a sinful snake and evidently banished to hell — choosing a stripper pole as his preferred mode of transportation down into the underworld.
There, he’s met by a jacked, Satanic zaddy, who takes Lil Nas X as a personal sex slave. The video closes with Lil Nas X — whose real name is Montero Lamar Hill — performing a deliciously wicked lap dance for Lucifer.
The video premiere was shortly followed by news that the “Old Town Road” rapper had also collaborated with creative agency MSCHF on a diabolic version of Nike’s Air Max 97 — though, Nike has distanced itself from the devilish duds. The blasphemous sneakers feature a pentagram pendant, a holy symbol for Pagans, and a promise that the bright red shoes were imbued with a single drop of human blood.
“Luke 10:18” is inscribed on the side of the [shoe] — a reference to the Bible verse: “He replied, ‘I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven’,” according to the New International Version. Priced at $1,018, only 666 — the so-called “number of the beast” — were to be made available for purchase starting Monday.
However, it would appear that “Montero” and the cursed kicks have been canceled by God-fearing folks who say the “line has to be drawn somewhere,” as former Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence tweeted on Sunday.
“My kids will never play Old Town road again.. I’m still debating about wearing @Nike after this come [on] nike a drop of blood for real,” tweeted former NBA star Nick “Swaggy P” Young.
“Our kids are being told that this kind of product is, not only okay, it’s ‘exclusive.’ But do you know what’s more exclusive?” asked Gov. Kristi Noem of South Dakota on Twitter. “Their God-given eternal soul. We are in a fight for the soul of our nation. We need to fight hard. And we need to fight smart. We have to win.”
Fellow hip-hop artist Joyner Lucas also seemed conflicted. “I think the biggest problem for me is the fact he dont understand ‘old town road’ is every kids anthem,” Lucas tweeted. “Children love him for that record. They tuned in and subscribed to his channels. So with no disclaimer he just dropped some left field ish & all our kids seen it. Smh.”
Hill quickly clapped back to correct Lucas. “i literally sing about lean & adultery in old town road. u decided to let your child listen. blame yourself,” he replied.
On Sunday, Lil Nas X responded to overall criticism in a YouTube video with the baiting title “Lil Nas X Apologizes for Satan Shoe,” which teases an apology before the trolling rapper cuts to the raunchy hellscape of his new video.
The provocative rapper showed no sign of stopping in a tweet sent Monday morning, which garnered nearly 150,000 likes in just a few hours, blasting critics who would focus on his music video in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.
Meanwhile, in another minor controversy sparked by “Montero,” director Andrew Thomas Huang addressed allegations that Lil Nas X had borrowed heavily from FKA Twigs’ 2019 video for “Cellophane,” which Huang directed.
Huang fist noted the similarities between the two videos on TikTok, adding the caption “@lilnasx take me off your mood board or hire me.”
Huang clarified on social media that Columbia Records, Lil Nas X’s label, had, in fact, reached out to him and “Cellophane” choreographer Kelly Yvonne prior to producing “Montero,” but that the label ultimately decided to go in another direction — in terms of directors, at least.
In a Twitter thread, he wrote, “I’m a fan of @LilNasX. ‘Old Town Road’ is iconic.”
“Sharing collaborators is common. Seeing the ‘Cellophane’ choreographer collab with Lil Nas X is awesome (love a Satan dance). Sharing aesthetics and paying homage is part of the creative process,” Huang said.
He later added, “Intentional or not, copying other artists’ work happens. Making music videos is a labor of love. The demand for content pushed by major labels renders our work disposable and pits artists against each other.”
“I urge the music community, particularly major record labels like @ColumbiaRecords to respect directors, uphold artistic accountability and honor the ingenuity of artists dedicating their blood sweat and tears to imagine better futures amidst a broken industry. We can do better.”