'Montero,' by Lil Nas X, is an unapologetically queer hip hop anthem.
We're going to Montero today, baby, so save the penance for Sunday. Lil Nas X dropped the video for his long-awaited single "Montero (Call Me By Your Name)" in the early hours of Friday morning. In the catchy song, the young rapper discusses the intersection between hip hop and sexuality in a way that few others have. The song and its accompanying CGI-heavy video are unapologetically queer, dripping with angelic fluff and demonic eroticism in equal measure, and eliciting reactions from just about everyone online.
In the film, Montero Lamar Hill, aka Lil Nas X, finds himself the victim of an alien-snake hybrid in a Garden of Eden-style situation. He is pulled in by the tempter and put on trial in front of a coliseum of demonstrators before being condemned to hell via a pole dance that he believes made him bleed on set.
He seduces Satan himself and the two have a great time together before our hero kills (!) him and steals his horns. If we've ever seen a Genesis to Revelation tale, this is it. The lyrics are just as spicy, with Lil Nas X getting right to the point:
"You live in the dark, boy, I cannot pretend
I'm not phased, only here to sin
If Eve ain't in your garden, you know that you can"
The rapper's note, which he posted on Twitter shortly after the video's release, adds to the video's effect beyond the plot. The singer writes to his 14-year-old self in a short letter: "People will be furious, and they will accuse me of pursuing an agenda, as you can see. However, the fact is that I am. The aim is for people to stay out of other people's lives and avoid telling them who they should be."
The video is chock-full of Biblical and classical references, but despite its symbolism, the message is clear: That Lil Nas X dude who released "Old Town Lane" is queer as fuck. In thigh-high boots, the guy went to hell to grind on the devil. There isn't a lot of complexity in this. You can condemn him and pass judgement on him, but he'll go to hell and take the throne from the same person you're threatening him with. Before he snatches the crown, Lil Nas X is getting laid in hell. That's perfect if it's faith. If it's hip hop's homophobia past, that's great. But, to cut a long story short, Lil Nas X is about to drop a banger about queer sex. He'll absolutely devastate the music industry's expectations. It'll be set to the beat of a certified bop, too.
Naturally, the video has sparked outrage among conservatives, with "Montero" being the poster child for why America is on the decline today. Many who even have a passing familiarity with the rapper know that if they want to see Lil Nas X, they must not skip and must be prepared for his return. You should know what happens next if you watched the video.
To his critics, I wish them luck. They'll need it.