The US rapper “Lil Nas X” is currently one of the most controversial artists. As the son of a gospel singer, he struggled with his gayness. Today he plays with motifs between Christianity and Satanism. These include 666 pairs of shoes with alleged human blood – and the Gospel of Luke.
In the summer of 2019, “Lil Nas X” swam the wave of success with his song “Old Town Road”. He used them for his outing, which is still a taboo break in the African-American rapper scene. Two years later, the son of a gospel singer dances in his videos with Satan and naked crackers.
“Lil Nas X” in a shower scene in prison.
The father is proud of his son
What looked difficult at first ended with a happy ending: “Live life according to your beliefs. [Ich bin] very PROUD of you,” is robert Stafford’s message to his son Montero Lamar Hill on March 26, 2021. This one, better known by the stage name “Lil Nas X”, had just released a new, controversial music video: “Montero (Call Me by Your Name)”.
In the video, the young African-American single-mindedly goes to the devil, whom he tries to seduce with full physical effort.
“Lil Nas X” is 1.85 meters tall, 75 kilograms light and often only lightly dressed: in tight boxer shorts with patent boots that reach over the knee, with several necklaces and a wig with fiery red braids.
Ridden by the devil: Rapper “Lil Nas X”.
In this presentation, he lounging on the stoically looking devil in order to break his neck and remove his horns at the end.
It all started in such a pastel-coloured way: in a colourful, paradisiacal garden, “Lil Nas X” leans against a tree with a pink guitar and sings. But soon he can no longer resist the seduction of the snake and a few scenes later rushes enthusiastically down into hell on a long slide bar.
And don’t tempt me: “Lil Nas X” in a paradise scene.
The outcry in conservative US circles was great. Not least because “Little Nas X” together with the artist collective “MSCHF” started the sale of “Satan Shoes”: the shoes that the devil wears in the “Montero” video.
These were an unauthorized special model of “Nike Air Max 97”: in black, with a pentagram pendant threaded into the laces and allegedly a drop of human blood in the sole.
666 copies: Satanist shoes?
In addition, an imprint on the page referred to the Gospel of Luke: “I saw Satan fall out of heaven like a bolt of lightning.” Based on Lk 10.18, the price of 1018 US dollars is likely to have come about.
One of the 666 couples – the Revelation of John sends greetings – has landed at the feet of singer Miley Cyrus (»Wrecking Ball», «Party in the U.S.A.», which she presents in a photo series on Instagram.
Nike defends itself against infringement of trademark law
Sporting goods manufacturer Nike took legal action against “MSCHF” and the un-approved use of the trademarks. The displeasure about the shoes had also been directed at Nike, as can be seen, for example, in the tweet of a former basketball player:
“My children will never play Old Town Road again. Whether I will ever wear Nike again after this action, I still have to think about. Seriously Nike? A drop of blood?”
“Old Town Road” was the big breakthrough for “Lil Nas X”. In search of success, he combined country with trap and delivered a catchy and successful catchy tune.
Lap dance with the devil: Rapper “Lil Nas X”.
The Billboard country charts are the leading charts in this genre. Shortly before he reached the top position here, those responsible classified the song as “not country” enough.
Some sensed racist motives behind the decision. But “Lil Nas X” knew how to help himself. With the support of country singer Billy Ray Cyrus (»Achy Breaky Heart»), a remix was created in 2019 that met the requirements and manifested the success of the song.
Time travel from yeshr 1889 into the year 2019
In 2020, “Lil Nas X” won two Grammys for “Old Town Road”. Only in the category “Record of the Year” did he have to lag behind Billie Eilish’s “Bad Guy”. But for the categories “Best Pop Duo/Group Performance” and “Best Music Video” he won the prestigious awards.
Deservedly, because the music video takes viewers on an adventurous journey through time from 1889 to 2019 in five minutes. First of all, “Lil Nas X” in his leather cowboy dress still wears a cross pendant in his left ear. As he swaps the chasm for a more colorful, playful outfit, the earrings also become more glittery.
Online, “Lil Nas X” recently published a letter that he looks back to his 20-year-old self – at the height of success with “Old Town Road”: “I know, sometimes you believe that from now on it will go downhill. I know your sexuality makes you seem like an outsider among your peers. […] I know if you hear the term ‘One Hit Wonder’ again, you could burn. But you have to keep going. You need to realize that you have the opportunity to be the person I needed when I was growing up. You need to stop pitying yourself. You have to remember that the only person who has to believe in you is YOU.”
And Montero Lamar Hill seems to have actually acted on this principle. Incidentally, it owes its name to his mother’s desire for a Mitsubishi Montero (known in the European market as Mitsubishi Pajero), as he told the “New York Times”.
Child of divorce – first with the mother, then with the father
When he was six years old, his parents separated. At first, he and his four siblings lived with their mother. After a custody dispute, he and his brothers finally ended up with their father.
For a long time he had struggled with his homosexuality, he reported in an interview with the “Time” magazine: Growing up Christian, he had been taught since a young age that being gay was never okay. At the age of 14, he decided to take the secret of his sexuality with him to the grave, he writes on “Instagram”.
“Doesn’t the devil want to tempt you?”
“I even thought: If I have these feelings, then it’s a test. A temporary test. It will pass. God only leads me into temptation,” he explained his thoughts from this time to the British magazine “GQ”.
“Lil Nas X” – seduced by the devil?
When he then outed himself in front of his family, the father’s first reaction was. “Doesn’t the devil want to tempt you?” In the meantime, the father seems to have changed his mind, as the encouraging message at the beginning of the text proves.
Role model for others?
So the game of hide-and-seek is over. “This will open the door for other queer people to simply exist,” writes “Lil Nas X” on “Instagram”.
And the words that introduce the song “Montero (Call Me by Your Name)” also reflect this conviction: “In life we hide the parts of ourselves that we don’t want the world to see. We deny them, we banish them. But here we don’t. Welcome to Montero.» Meanwhile, it is the most hated video on YouTube. It has received the “thumbs down” more than a million times – more often than any other video on the platform. That, too, is an achievement.
Lil Nas X takes it with composure and shows in his tweets the double standards he feels with problematic comparisons: “You say that the end times have dawned when a gay N**** twerk on a CGI Satan – as if the Holocaust and slavery had not existed.”
CGI stands for Computer Generated Imagery. CGI, for example, was used for the character of Gollum in the “Lord of the Rings” series – and also for Satan in the “Montero” video. Twerking means circular, jerky hip and pelvic movements. “Lil Nas X” alludes to the lascivious scenes with the devil – and rejects the criticism.
Lascivious through prison: Nude is the new orange!
The rapper thinks that the pandemic or the ongoing shootings in the US are more upsetKsamkeit deserved as he did. In order to grab his own nose, he is committed to social change. With his current video “Industry Baby”, he calls for donations for the “Bail Project”.
First pink, then naked: “Industry Baby”.
It helps arrested people to be released on bail and not to have to spend the time until the trial in detention. The excitement is also great with this video: “Lil Nas X” dances lasciviously through the prison – this time not alone, but with prison inmates who sometimes wear pink overalls, sometimes nothing at all. Nude is the new orange!
Some critics are bothered by the fact that “Lil Nas X” white music partner in this song, Jack Harlow, is allowed to take over a character they perceive as heteronormative. He is not shown like “Lil Nas X” in the communal shower with other prisoners, but at the shepherd’s hour with a prison guard.
First pink, then naked: “Industry Baby”.
“Lil Nas X” takes this criticism with a wink: “Some of you are not angry that I am gay, but that I am gay and still successful!”
It is not known which new song “Lil Nas X” is currently working on. But between self-realization and provocation, something will surely be found.
“Lil Nas X” has often had the experience in his life: “They condemn what they do not understand”.
© Catholic Media Centre, 07.08.2021
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