Lil Nas X loves provocation and he proves it once again with this new controversy. On 26 March 2021, the rapper released the music video for his new tune 'Montero.' You can see him in paradise and then in hell, going so far as to perform a very suggestive dance for Satan himself. Very much criticized by a 'homophobic' group of rap buffs, this new tune was greeted with great enthusiasm by his fans. But has the rapper gone too far with this new stunt?
Satanic shoes with very dark symbols
If many have rebelled against Lil Nas X, it is not really for the clip but for his... shoes. Indeed, in collaboration with MSCHF, the rapper proposed 'Satan Shoes.' These revisited Nike Air Max '97 have many allusions to Satan.
Sold in a limited release of 666 pairs (sorry if you are hexakosioihexekontahexaphobe), they are adorned with several symbols like a pentagram, an inverted cross... as well as a verse from the Bible saying 'And [Jeus] said to them: I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven.'
The drop of blood in these sneakers is causing heavy dissension
These shoes are criticized, and in particular for a dark detail which is very much not to everyone's tastes. In addition to adding red ink to the air bubble, the ad claims there to also be a drop of blood. This pissed off a fair amount of people, believing that Lil Nas X was going too far.
As for Nike's side of the debacle, they originally seemed to wish to distance themselves from it. A message was quickly posted to point out that this was not a collaboration with the brand. 'We don't have a relationship with Lil Nas X or MSCHF. Nike did not design or release these shoes and we do not endorse them,' explains Nick DePaula.
It also bears reminding that blood is considered biological waste, and just sending this out through the mail might not be a very good idea.
Lil Nas X takes the criticism and plays off of it
Faced with allegedly homophobic remarks concerning the 'Montero' clip, Lil Nas X remains studiously phlegmatic. Ever since coming out in 2019, the rapper has claimed that he wants to 'represent 100% of the LGBT community.' 'I want to make myself into a superstar, like a prediction, and fashion will help me a lot for that' he had said in The Guardian. No doubt the revenues will help his bank account, at least.
As for the shoes, Lil Nas X, whose real name is Montero Lamar Hill (hence the song's title), doesn't care and even plays off of it. So, in a fake apology message posted on YouTube, he ended up doing a hidden promotion of his latest hit. So, unsurprisingly, an entire moral cesspool of online arguments turns out to be yet another attempt at flogging some stuff. And with more than 30 million views in 48 hours, it is a fairly successful marketing stunt for the young artist.
Though he might want to save some of this money. As mentioned earlier, Nike's position was originally low-profile. However, the brand seems to have revised its options. Evidently willing to quash their name's association with a growing controversy, Nike has slammed MSCHF with an injunction to stop the sale of their shoes, under threat of lawsuit.