Following the reveal, Lil Nas X was quick to share what inspired the album cover’s creative direction. Turns out, SpongeBob SquarePants provided the rapper with some of the material he needed, specifically a meme of the popular underwater sponge levitating, doctored to looks as if it’s listening to soul-cleansing music on an mp3 player. Lil Nas also hinted to keep an eye out for another surprise this week. “Tracklist tomorrow!” he later tweeted.
Another point of reference for the rapper? Artist John Stephens' "Genesis II" piece. "Thus the heavens and the earth were completed in all their vast array," Lil Nas X tweeted along with a side-by-side comparison of the piece of art and his album cover, quoting the Bible's Genesis 2. "By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work."
The cover art reveal for Montero comes after Lil Nas shared a teaser for the album, which consisted of four versions of him waiting to be born from the comfort of butterfly cocoons suspended from vibrant purple branches. "Montero, wake up," the rapper’s voice says throughout the clip. "It's time."
Lil Nas previously tweeted that "creating this album has been therapy for me … I’ve learned to let go of trying to control people’s perception of who I am, what I can do, and where I will be. I’ve realized the only opinion of me that really matters is my own." In the same tweet was the album’s first official trailer. Montero is set to release on Sept. 17.
See Lil Nas X's posts with the cover reveal and his inspirations.