Lil Nas X Releases New Single “MONTERO,” Video Creates Major Controversy


Image via Complex

Ryan Gorneault, Entertainment Editor

Singer and rapper Lil Nax X finally released his highly anticipated single, “MONTERO (Call Me By Your Name),” along with a provocative music video on March 26th, 2021, to much fanfare and controversy. His song was first teased in July of 2020 on Twitter and TikTok before being featured in Logitech’s SuperBowl LV commercial this past February. The song reached more than eight million streams on Spotify and more than 25 million views on YouTube in less than two days of their respective releases.

The song, which blends classical guitars, reggaeton, and trap music, is heavily inspired by the singer’s relationship with an unnamed boyfriend and his long journey in finding self-acceptance due to the shame he previously felt because of his sexuality. The autobiographical nature of the song and lyrics explains why Lil Nas X decided to name the song after his birth name, Montero. While it was once believed that the “Call Me By Your Name” part of the song title was inspired by the LGBTQ+ themed book and Oscar-nominated movie of the same name, it was just a coincidence.

Shortly before the song was released, the Grammy-nominated artist published a letter to his 14-year-old self, expressing hope that his music will make an impact on those who need it. “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.”

The controversial music video depicts Lil Nas X as both Adam and the snake from the Biblical story, fusing together following a kiss. The rapper is then magically transported to the Colosseum, where he is stoned to death by his doppelgangers sporting powdered wigs. His ascension to Heaven is inevitably halted when he grabs onto a flying stripper pole and descends to Hell via an FKA twigs-inspired pole-dance (as it turns out, he used the same choreographer that singer FKA twigs did in her music video for “cellophane.”) Finally, he finds his way to Satan’s lair, gives the Antichrist himself a lap dance, and snaps his neck, declaring himself the king of Hell in the process. 

Considering that many homophobic people believe being gay is worth the sentence of eternal damnation, the persecution and descent into hell featured in the video feels pretty on-the-nose; he is completely fine with going to hell as long as it means he could be himself. Of course, the video’s use of LGBTQ+ themes and the explicit sexual content, along with satanic imagery (compounded by his release of 666 pairs of custom Nike Air Max 97s he calls “Satan Shoes”) is too much for many to handle.

Political commentators, rappers, and everyday social media users alike have condemned Lil Nas X, worrying that his songs and videos will negatively influence the youth of America, especially following the success he found with his hit song “Old Town Road,” which many believed was specifically targeted for children. In a recent tweet, the singer explained, “there was no system involved. i made the decision to create the music video. i am an adult. i am not gonna spend my entire career trying to cater to your children. that is your job.” Later, he clapped back at rapper Joyner Lucas, who was also critical of his videography’s evolution, writing, “i literally sang about lean & adultery in old town road. u decided to let your child listen. blame yourself.”


Lil Nas X’s debut album “Montero” is expected to drop this year.