- The Magazine
In a testament to the mainstream appeal of unabashedly queer music, the latest single from Lil Nas X, “Montero (Call Me By Your Name),” has debuted at the top of the Billboard Hot 100.
It’s the singer and rapper’s second number one song after crossover hit “Old Town Road” reached the top of the chart in 2019.
Billboard announced the news on April 5, stating that “Montero” had “46.9 million U.S. streams and sold 21,000 downloads in the week ending April 1. It also attracted 1.1 million radio airplay audience impressions in the week ending April 4.”
In an Instagram post, Lil Nas X reflected on the song’s emotional significance to him.
“Last year I was sitting in my apartment thinking it was all over for me,” he wrote. “I was trying so hard to be perfect, to please everyone, and not make any enemies. That stifled me creatively. I felt so sorry for myself. But around this time in 2020 I pulled it together, me, daytrip, omer, & roy, worked for months on end.
“One day in June I was working on a song and found myself leaving the studio every 10 minutes to cry,” he continued. “But I didn’t stop working, a melody came to my mind. ‘Call me when u want na-na-na-na na,’ and I knew it was something special about it, fast forward a year later it’s the biggest song in the world. Thank you guys so much. We get to decide OUR own destiny, never let the world decide it for YOU! I love you!”
The accompanying music video for “Montero” played a part in driving the song’s success, after its satanic and unabashedly LGBTQ imagery led to outrage from conservatives and anti-LGBTQ figures.
In the video, Lil Nas X portrays multiple characters, including both Adam and the serpent in Garden of Eden, who ultimately kiss, as well as him pole-dancing his way into Hell and offering Satan a lap dance — before snapping his neck and taking his horns.
The video was met with the typical outcry from conservatives, which Lil Nas X gleefully responded to on Twitter in a series of clever clapbacks.
He also called out the hypocrisy behind the conservative backlash, writing on Twitter, “I spent my entire teenage years hating myself because of the shit y’all preached would happen to me because i was gay. so i hope u are mad, stay mad, feel the same anger you teach us to have towards ourselves.”
Lil Nas X said being open and proud will “open doors for many other queer people to simply exist.”
“You see this is very scary for me, people will be angry, they will say I’m pushing an agenda. But the truth is, I am. The agenda to make people stay the fuck out of other people’s lives and stop dictating who they should be.”
The controversy peaked when Lil Nas X released his “Satan Shoes” — modified Nike Air Max 97s featuring a pentagram pendant and a real drop of human blood mixed with red ink filling the shoe’s air chamber — prompting a lawsuit from Nike demanding the shoes’ maker, viral product brand MSCHF, stop selling them.
Nike said that people on social media were confusing the shoes as a sanctioned Nike product, and said the company had “suffered significant harm to its goodwill, including among consumers who believe that Nike is endorsing satanism.”
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