Lil Nas X, the artist behind the hit ‘Old Town Road,’ released his latest single ‘Montero (Call Me By Your Name)’ on March 24, 2021, and it’s become another hit. Lil Nas X constantly interacts with his fans on TikTok, and he’s known for his comedic personality, his no-filter attitude, and for being one of the only mainstream gay rappers.
The song itself features the artist’s real name, Montero, and he expresses himself as a gay individual. In a tweet, he writes a letter to his 14-year-old self, and how he knows he “promised to never come out publicly” but that “this will open doors for many other queer people to simply exist.”
In the TikTok world, fans have creatively used the sound, focusing on the pole dancing scene of the music video, where Lil Nas X descends from heaven to hell, where he seduces and takes the place of Satan. TikTok user Isaiah Washington, under the username @relatableisaiah, created a TikTok that was reposted by Lil Nas X himself. In the TikTok, Washington uses the green screen filter of a picture of the stairs to heaven and is questioning why there isn’t an elevator when part of Lil Nas X’s song plays to represent the artist going down the pole. Washington comedically exclaims “how come he gets an easy access pole?” as a rebuttal. Washington’s video got 6.3 million views, and Lil Nas X’s reposted version got 2.5 million views.
The trend itself seemed to have been started by TikTok user @wolf.cola.official, who created the sound that features the fade in and out of ‘Montero.’ His video captioned “Reagan chilling on March 26, 2021” references the single’s release date and the former president, Ronald Reagan. After his video went viral, he made it his own sound for others to use and add to the trend.
Other TikTok’s have surfaced that don’t use the viral sound, but they create memes out of ‘Montero.’ On Lil Nas X’s Twitter, he reposted a TikTok from Justice Monarae, under the user @arsyndoll. The hilarious TikTok depicts Satan running and screaming, and then Lil Nas X appears accompanied by the opening to ‘SexyBack’ by Justin Timberlake. Monarae’s TikTok amassed 3.2 million views.
There’s even a Minecraft parody TikTok of Lil Nas X pole dancing to hell. In this TikTok The Nether, “a dangerous hell-like dimension” in the video game is depicted with a mob known as a Ghast. TikTok user @wolf.cola.official’s viral sound is used, and the TikTok received 1.7 million views.
However, despite the memes and popularity of his single, Lil Nas X is receiving hate and criticism on his music video. Because the music video depicts religious imagery along with sexual themes, some felt disrespected.
Parents are especially angered, as many children discovered Lil Nas X through ‘Old Town Road.’ One criticizer tweeted that “the system is targeting kids” and pointed out how the artist’s “fanbase is mostly children,” accompanying the tweet with a video of Lil Nas X performing for children. He responded by stating that he’s “not gonna spend [his] entire career trying to cater to [their] children” and also made the statement that he “literally sing[s] about lean & adultery in old town road.”
After constantly clapping back at haters, Lil Nas X continued promotions by releasing an extended version titled ‘Montero (Call Me By Your Name) [Satan’s extended version]’ to listeners. Lil Nas X won’t let criticism stop him, and fortunately, TikTok provides an older fanbase to support him.