With his latest single, Lil Nas X has made yet another splash. Now he wants to make sure you understand everything he’s saying.
Genius released their latest “Genius Verified” video with Lil Nas X on Monday (March 29), in which the rapper went through “Montero (Call Me By Your Name)” line by line to explain exactly what he was trying to say with the provocative new song.
The rapper said he started writing the song shortly after the COVID-19 pandemic broke out, when he rented an Airbnb to work on his upcoming album. Lil Nas X says he was invited to visit a friend’s new house during the writing and recording process when he realized, “‘Oh, I like this guy a lot,’ and I started writing the song the next day.”
The song’s first lines, he explained, trace the literal interaction he had with the guy, from being called up to his wish to “catch you throwing smiles in my face” to seeing his friend partying, doing drugs, and drinking his time in quarantine away. He said of his friend’s sexuality, “I can’t pretend I don’t see you doing this sh-t, and I can’t pretend I don’t notice these things.”
When it comes to the song’s title, Lil Nas X admits that the 2017 film of the same name had a big influence on him and that he wanted to make an anthem where he could fully embrace his sexuality. “That was one of the first gay films that I had watched, and I thought the theme was so dope of calling somebody by your own name,” he said. “The way everything is shot, the way the dialogue goes on, the way the background sounds are used, everything about it is so artsy.”
The rapper claims that some of the song’s more openly sexual lyrics were fully intended. He explained that the line “shoot a child in yo’ mouth while I’m ridin'” was meant to be shocking while also breaking a taboo surrounding lyrics about queer lust. “I was thinking, ‘It’s about time I say something out of the blue in a song,'” he joked. “Let’s make these f—-ing lines as common as talking about f—-ing a girl or f—-ing a guy.”
He went on to say that he wants to keep making content to help queer narratives gain traction in mainstream music.
” I feel like that’s really important for representation in general, and this is gonna open more doors for one day when someone’s like, ‘Oh, this person said that, and I didn’t even think about it.'” he said.
Overall, Lil Nas X is proud of how the song turned out — despite the controversy — because he wants to show the industry that a queer narrative can exist in popular music. ” which is why it’s going to be super important for me, and for so many other people.”