Lil Nas X dropped the time-hopping, hallucinogenic video for “MONTERO (Call Me By Your Name)” on Friday (March 26), a mind-bending trip to the Garden of Eden, ancient Greece and the fiery depths of hell. The CGI-heavy clip was co-directed by Lil Nas and Tanu Muino and based on a concept developed by the rapper that bounces from the biblical to Greek mythological eras, while offering “his own personal story of temptation, judgment and standing in the full power of his sexuality,” according to a statement.
The visual — in which nearly all characters are played by X — opens with a long-haired version of the “Rodeo” MC as Adam strumming a pink guitar under the fruit-laden tree of knowledge in the Garden of Eden as a giant snake slithers around its trunk. The flamenco-like track with a subtle trap beat plays out as the garden explodes with sinister Lil Nas-faced flowers and the villainous serpent with a demonic Nas face seduces our hero using a hypnotic third eye.
After a kiss of death from the treacherous snake, the scene flips to a pink-haired X in chains on trial in front of a blue powdered wig council of five English dandies on his execution day in the Colosseum. The action then quickly flips to an angelic version of the rapper ascending to heaven before taking a pole dancing ride to hell, where the flame-locked Lil Nas gives the devil a fiery lap dance.
According to a statement, the title of the song — Lil Nas’ first new track of 2021 — is an homage to the award-winning 2017 Luca Guadagnino coming-of-age film of the same name and “begs the question: do you truly love your neighbor as yourself, enough to call them by your own name?”
The statement also includes a letter Lil Nas, 21, wrote to his 14-year-old self about the video in which he says, “I wrote a song with our name in it. It’s about a guy I met last summer. I know we promised to never come out publicly, I know we promised to never 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. You see this is very scary for me, people will be angry, they will say I’m pushing an agenda. But the truth is, I am. The agenda to make people stay the f–k out of other people’s lives and stop dictating who they should be. Sending you love from the future.”
“MONTERO” is the first release from the rapper since last year’s Christmas-themed “Holiday.” To celebrate the single he got a congratulatory note and a flower arrangement from none other than Hannah Montana, who wrote, “Congrats on CMBYN Lil Nas! Love you!” He was honored, tweeting “I FCKIN LOVE U @MileyCyrus.”
Watch the “MONTERO” video and the Hannah Montana note below.
So does this mean I should call you Hannah Montana? 💕 https://t.co/3erCJHfEzk
— Hannah Montana (@hannahmontana) March 26, 2021