Updated: Mar 29, 2021
Lil Nas X’s new video for his new hit “Montero (Call Me By Your Name)” may be ruffling some feathers and stirring things up out there, and it should because it’s that damn good. The talented rapper with the smash hit “Old Town Road” is back again with a daring new tune that’s guaranteed to keep you up at night.
It’s the kind of video that may just make you break a sweat. No matter what you believe in, the hella catchy melody and hypnotic rhythm accompanied by a silky smooth Spanish guitar will have you swaying with your lover on the dance floor all night or singing along in your car on the way to work.
In a video interview with YouTuber Zach Campbell, the artist breaks down some of the video’s most provocative and controversial moments while discussing the religious symbolism and metaphors in his hot new video. At one point, Campbell calls the video “literally a pop culture moment”, which it absolutely is. It’s a video that everyone’s going to be talking about for a long time.
Some of the more shocking moments include a scene where Lil Nas evocatively gives Satan a lapdance in hell and another, where he licks his own glittery body as an alien serpent with an awakened third eye in the Garden of Eden, and another, where he pole dances down the center of the Colosseum.
Co-directed by Lil Nas and Tanu Muinohe, the colorful pastel-painted world the story is set in seems to evoke Disney’s Fantasia while striking religious allegory beckons the viewer to dive in headfirst and take a bite. When talking about the video he says, “this is like my re-creation of the Adam and Eve story” and goes on to say, “this is like two versions of me. One version is running from the other version of me until it’s confronted” when describing meeting another self in the Garden scene.
The story of the video speaks to many struggles he’s faced as a gay man growing up in a Judeo-Christian culture but he doesn’t just stop there---he subtly explores the roots and enduring legacy of discrimination going back centuries.
His character, which feels a lot like a Herculean or even a Messianic figure, descends to hell and overcomes Satan, eventually stealing his power and becoming an even more powerful being himself.
The entire video felt to me like a personal empowerment statement, in which Lil Nas X was in fact taking his power back as an artist and a gay Black man while fighting for his right to be seen and accepted for exactly who he is.
With it, he's sending a powerful message to the gays in the world struggling to find courage and inner strength, while simultaneously sends a warning to the haters of the empowered individual to back off or face the heat of our wrath which in this case, is backed by hellfire.
Lil Nas X talks about growing up and being raised in church in the south and reveals how he was told all his life he was going to hell for being gay.
The entertainer has opened up in the past about his struggle with anxiety and the stress of coming out in the public spotlight to millions of fans worldwide.
Knowing full well that the people out there judging him already would probably write him off completely with his new video, he said he took it a step further and really increased the shock value.
With hints at ancient Greek philosophy featuring a quote from Plato’s Symposium carved on the Tree of Life, we know Lil Nas isn’t messing around with his message and his understanding of the history of religious oppression of gay bodies. The quote translates to this in English: “because they have been divided from their nature, they desire their other halves” (cc: @stephentrask & "The Origin of Love”).
Also, down in the center of hell, there are powerful fighting words written in Latin burned into the ground in front of the devil’s throne: “They condemn what they don’t understand.”
Thanks, Lil Nas X for saying what so many of us have been dying to say but didn’t have the courage to.