Fans are seeing a whole new side to Lil Nas X.
A video for the singer’s new single, “Montero (Call Me By Your Name)” — a reference to his given name, Montero Lamar Hill — dropped Thursday night, and it’s a far cry from his days on horseback.
Now, instead of riding off into the sunset, he’s sliding down a stripper pole — straight to hell.
“I’m not phased, only here to sin,” Lil Nas X sings in the bawdy new video, rife with biblical and mythological symbolism, which sees the 21-year-old scantily clad in an Eden-like fantasy world before finding himself banished to hell — but not before he dances down a celestial pole to the underworld.
“If Eve ain’t in your garden, you know that you can,” he sings, possibly referring to the biblical damnation of homosexuality.
The release dropped alongside a poignant open letter written and published on social media by the Georgia-based musician, addressed to his 14 -year-old self.
“I wrote a song with our name in it,” he began his message. “I know we promised to never come out publicly, i know we promised never to 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.”
The letter goes on to encourage young, queer creatives to “[push] an agenda” — of self-love and “[making] people stay the f – – k out of other people’s lives.”
Despite the inspirational message, some are criticizing LNX for lifting a number of thematic elements from fellow musician FKA Twigs, specifically her 2019 video for “Cellophane.” Familiarly, it features the English R&B singer also situated in some heavenly fantasy, also grinding down a pole.
Some fans claim that the rapper is simply “paying tribute” to FKA Twigs, 33, whose real name is Tahliah Debrett Barnett.
However, as others point out, the move seems to add insult to injury after FKA Twigs’ “Cellophane” lost a Grammy in 2020 for Best Music Video to Lil Nas X’s debut single “Old Town Road,” featuring country legend Billy Ray Cyrus.
“fka twigs lost her best music video Grammy to old town road and now here he is plagiarizing the entire cellophane video? That doesn’t sit right with me,” tweeted one critic on Friday.
Neither artist has publicly responded to the brewing controversy.