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Smooth Bananas: ‘Montero’

Rapper Lil’ Nas X has done it again and penned an absolutely bumping song that is sure to be on repeat on any fan’s Spotify playlist. However, some people are not as happy about it. 

The song, produced by Roy Lenzo and Omer Fedi, and released by label Columbia, is the title single from the rapper’s upcoming first album, Montero, expected to be released later this year. The track is approximately two minutes long and features both hip hop and electronica elements as well as traditional rap. 

The song was initially teased by Lil’ Nas X himself on many of his social media posts, including Twitter videos and TikToks where the song would be playing in the background almost inexplicably. After these cameo appearances, ‘Montero’ was used in a Super Bowl commercial and subsequently given a release date which garnered much online buzz. After its release along with the music video, that’s when the real buzz began. 

The themes of the song are quite explicit, but the music video is suggestive to another degree. The music video depicts Lil’ Nas X going through various scenes from Christianity and reveling in his own sex appeal. Some members of the Christian community have become outraged about the song and the music video for any number of reasons. A critical analysis of these reasons makes them fall apart quite quickly. 

Firstly, the critics of the music video and Lil’ Nas X say that the rapper is “harming children” by portraying Christianity this way. Let’s examine that. The fundamental point that this critique uses is flawed. Lil’ Nas X’s music is not for children. The rapper himself admits this. Moral panic has long been a tool of the Christian right to try and exert their worldview on other people. This is just another step in that. The fact of the matter is that Lil’ Nas X doesn’t right music for you or your children specifically, nor does he owe you anything, nor is it his job to teach your kids right from wrong. It is a parent’s job to appropriately censor content for the child, not an artist’s job to conform to another’s view of society. 

The next point that critics make is just plain as day homophobia. Lil’ Nas X is one of the most successful LGBTQ music artists as well as one of the few Black LGBTQ artists out there. There have been many other instances similar to what Lil’ Nas X has done in “Montero” but the difference between them and him is that he is a gay Black man. In recent Twitter posts, the rapper has said that he hopes people stay mad about his music video and his artistic output because he channels the anger and self-hatred he has felt because of people like those that criticize him now. Growing up, Lil’ Nas X faced much discrimination for being a gay man from those who identify as Christian. This music video is him reclaiming the narrative and embracing his truth. 

“Montero” is a great but sexually explicit song. Listener discretion, like any explicit music, should be advised. “Montero” receives an A rating. 

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