"Old Town Road," the smash-hit that shot Lil Nas X to superstardom, was family-friendly enough that the rap-country musician once performed it for a gym full of shrieking elementary school kids. The same can't be said about the artist's freshest offering, “Montero (Call Me By Your Name),” and we're so here for it. Lil Nas X, whose given name is Montero Lamar Hill, has never seemed more confident in his queerness. The single and video, which he co-directed, are unabashedly steamy, naughty, and super fun. On Twitter, Nas wrote he hopes embracing his sexuality in this way "will open doors for many other queer people to simply exist."
The CGI-heavy video is a wild ride, toying with the theme of duality — good, evil, heaven, hell — and featuring Lil Nas X in every role. It opens in the Garden of Eden, with the musician as both Adam and the snake who seduces him. Cut to Nas shackled in the Colosseum, where thousands of his doppelgängers have gathered to pass judgement. He gets clocked on the head and dies, briefly ascending toward heaven, before riding a very long stripper pole down to hell. When he gets there, he gives Satan a lap dance, then kills him off. A press statement helpfully clarified this represents "dismantling the throne of judgment and punishment that has kept many of us from embracing our true selves out of fear.” (Incidentally, at the time of this writing, the term "Satan" was trending on Twitter, with over 73,000 tweets.)
Nas shared a touching letter to his 14-year-old self on Thursday night, explaining why he's chosen to celebrate his queerness more publicly. “I wrote a song with our name in it. It’s about a guy I met last summer," he wrote. "I know we promised to never come out publicly, I know we promised to never be ‘that’ type of gay person, I know we promised to die with the secret, but this will open doors for many other queer people to simply exist."
Just as conservatives freaked out over "WAP," Nas anticipated his overtly sexual song might ruffle some feathers: "People will be angry, they will say I’m pushing an agenda. But the truth is, I am. The agenda to make people stay the fuck out of other people’s lives and stop dictating who they should be," he wrote.
Maybe it's because the pandemic has forced so many folks into celibacy, but it's incredibly refreshing to watch Nas be so upfront about sex. He told Apple Music's Zane Lowe that dropping "Montero" is liberating: “It’s brought a new confidence out of me, to be able to say, ‘You know what? I want to do this.’ And I don’t give a fuck who’s upset about it," he said. "The world’s going to keep spinning."