Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Lil Nas X brilliantly courts controversy (and Satan himself) with "Montero" video and blood-filled Nikes

Lil Nas X
Lil Nas X
Screenshot: YouTube

Lil Nas X transforming his cool country-trap song “Old Town Road” into the biggest song in the world was a masterclass in sticking it to jerks (Billboard wouldn’t count it as country music, so he got Billy Ray Cyrus to sing a verse and turned it into one of the most popular songs of all time, transcending the country music label entirely), but the fact that he has continued to do new things that are both popular and culturally relevant is proof that he just might be a goddamn genius.

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And by “goddamn,” we mean “goddamn,” because holy shit, have you seen the “Montero” video yet? It rules.

So yeah, he slides into Hell on a stripper pole and gives Satan a lap dance, after which he breaks the dude’s neck and steals his horns. The symbolism should be pretty obvious, but Lil Nas X put a finer point on it with a tweet noting that people love to say gay people are going to Hell, but now they’re getting upset “when I actually go there.”

As he alluded to in that post, people are upset about the content of the video (mostly randos on Twitter), but Lil Nas X is a pro at this and he wouldn’t have given Satan a lap dance if he wasn’t prepared for this kind of reaction. Responding to one person, he noted that “there is a mass shooting every week that our government does nothing to stop,” so he’s not the one who’s “destroying society,” and he later underlined his point by saying that anyone who is mad about the video should “stay mad” and “feel the same anger you teach us to have towards ourselves.”

And that was all after he had already shared this powerful letter to his younger self, further indicating that yes, he knows what he’s doing, he’s doing it on purpose, and he’s more than happy to let people fall into the trap of exposing their own prejudices by trying to say that he’s doing something wrong. Again: It rules.

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That brings us to the new spin-off controversy that came up today: Since the video’s release, Lil Nas X has announced that he’s going to be selling custom pairs of Satan Nikes like the ones in the video, limited to 666 pairs and featuring a real drop of human blood mixed in with red ink on the sole. People are inexplicably furious about that (including former NBA player Nick Young, who is banning “Old Town Road” from his home but isn’t sure if he’s mad enough to stop wearing Nikes), and enough people have apparently yelled at Nike now that Snopes had to investigate and figure out the actual origin of the shoes. It turns out that they are custom Nike Air Max 97s, but Nike itself was not involved in their creation. Instead, they’re the work of a company called MSCHF, which Snopes says specializes in troll-y business ventures, so anyone getting upset about shoes made with blood are playing right into their MSCHievous hands. The shoes will actually go on sale to the public on March 29, and you can find more information about them at this very dramatic website.

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Unfortunately, this stupid shoe thing has blown up into such a big controversy that Lil Nas X was forced to take time away from shutting down politicians who are mad about shoes to release an apology video that… you should just watch for yourself. (Wink.)