Is there anyone pushing queer imagery in the mainstream more at the moment than Lil Nas X? As one of the commentators beneath his new video on YouTube expresses it: “I like how whenever Christians say he’s going to hell for being gay he just becomes even gayer. It’s like a Pokémon evolving and it’s beautiful.”
After a week of hyping it up, Lil Nas X dropped his latest release, ‘Industry Baby’ last night. On Tuesday, the singer tweeted, “Saying this in advance so y’all won’t blame me. THE INDUSTRY BABY VIDEO IS NOT FOR YOUR KIDS!”
Now we know what he meant. In the video, directed by Christian Breslauer, Lil Nas X is sentenced to prison.
There he is seen exploring every homoerotic prison stereotype, from dancing naked in the showers with a bunch of other inmates (their crotches pixelated), walking around with his favorite boyfriends holding on to his pockets (fans of Prison Break will get that reference), and pumping iron in the yard alongside someone who looks likes Jason Momoa (we’re pretty sure it’s a lookalike – he’s not mentioned in the end credits).
One confirmed celebrity appearance comes from Colton Haynes, who plays a prison guard knocked out by Lil Nas X.
And of course, there has to be a Shawshank Redemption-style breakout.
The song is a collaboration with fellow rapper Jack Harlow, who is seen slipping Lil Nas X a hammer to dig himself out.
Lil Nas X’s fans have reacted with appreciation to his latest work, which comes shortly before the release of his debut, full-length album, entitled MONTERO.
“There hasn’t been a prison music video this iconic since Telephone,” said Thesaltpacket on Reddit, referencing the Gaga/Beyonce classic.
“The only woman in the video being in that one scene with Jack Harlow just to remind people that he’s straight is very funny to me,” said another Bakaka2 on Reddit.
“Lil Nas X is checking all the boxes that America doesn’t want him to check and then some. Keep your foot on the gas ⛽️” said Jzon Azari on YouTube.
“People in the beginning: he’ll be a one-hit-wonder,” said Leonardo Montoya on YouTube. “Everyone now: all his songs slap, he don’t miss. His music vids are dope.”
“I missed this season of Prison Break,” said Gerard on YouTube.
On Twitter, a tweet asking for the uncensored version proved very popular.
Do you have the uncensored version?
— DANIEL 💎 (@papidaniiel) July 23, 2021
I am old enough to remember when MTV first started, I am so pleased to see you just doing your thing!! My generation laid the ground work for this!!! And yes, you got it!! So proud, keep it up, push those bounderies, make people uncomfortable all while making great music/art!
— Laurie Goff (@lloki08) July 23, 2021
Time to replay this shit for the next month pic.twitter.com/QDkCBGfcfy
— Ryan💕😈😗 (@alias__ryan16) July 23, 2021