Over the last three weeks of a personal vacation, I had a recurring dream of a miles-long pole I would descend every night into the fiery abyss of Hell, at the bottom of which I’d dance for the emperor of that cruel and sweltering kingdom. I’d like to thank Lil Nas X for this visual, having fucked Satan himself in the groundbreaking video for his single “Montero (Call Me By Your Name).”
There are few celebrities and entertainers that spark the sort of joy that Lil Nas X does. From his humble origins as a Barb and TweetDeck mastermind, to his many colorful and bombastic appearances at awards shows, it’s just nice to see one of the most famous people in America also be... the unmentionable word... gay. Yet his unabashed queerness and transgressive Hell visuals have been a problem for Nike, who were up in arms earlier this year when its family-friendly brand was tarnished by Nas and MSCHF’s “Satan shoes.” There was even a copyright infringement lawsuit about it—one that Nas will now poke fun at in his new single, “Industry Baby,” which he teased on Twitter Monday morning with some sketch comedy:
In the sketch, Nas plays the judge, the lawyer, the opposing lawyer, and some members of the jury. The opposing lawyer, during questioning, asks: “Are you gay?” When Nas responds that he has no idea what that has to do with anything, the lawyer-Nas rephrases: “Does your momma know you’re gay?” This is the question that sends the court into a tizzy.
Nas obviously knows what he’s doing.
In March, MSCHF announced “Satan shoes,” which were specially customized Nikes, as a tie-in to “Montero (Call Me By Your Name).” The brand and Nas said that only 666 pairs were made and that the soles contained drops of human blood, as well as a Bible verse that references Satan’s fall from heaven. As part of the collaboration, Nas announced would give away the 666th pair, although this never came to fruition, as MSCHF was slapped with a copyright infringement lawsuit by Nike. While Nas was spared direct legal threats, he was, for his part, subjected to a nationwide uproar by evangelicals and the right-wing, who accused him of all sorts of things: being gay, not being a God-fearing Christian, and also... being gay.
Amidst the near immediate uproar, Nas tweeted a letter to his younger self:
The letter laid bare the hypocrisy of the accusations thrown against him, especially the line: “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.” It’s also worth mentioning that Nas grew up in the church during his childhood in the South; his father was a Gospel singer, and he’s said in interviews that he feared coming out in such an environment.
One other thing: Nas’s upcoming single “Industry Baby” is produced by Kanye West, which marks West’s first big musical outing since 2019's Jesus Is King. Considering the way West courts scandal and intrigue as readily as Nas, seems to be the perfect pairing for such an occasion.