If there was any doubt that Lil Nas X is one of the biggest pop stars on the planet, look to the sequence of events that's taken place over the past 72 hours to alleviate it.
On Friday, he dropped "Montero (Call Me By Your Name)," a highly personal song about queer love that he wrote was "very scary" to release. "People will be angry, they will say I'm pushing an agenda," he wrote in an accompanying note on social media. "But the truth is, I am. The agenda to make people stay the fuck out of other people's lives and stop dictating who they should be."
He was right. People were angry! Not at the song specifically, but at the video's much-discussed, much-shared climax — in which he gives Satan a lap dance — and at the subsequent news that he'd be releasing "Satan Shoes," black sneakers featuring an inverted cross and actual human blood. It's a great tie-in! (They are already sold out.) Lil Nas X has never missed a moment to make the biggest impact possible, and this was no exception.
Because Newton's third law states that every Satanic twerk has an equal and opposite heavenly prayer, the responses to this were swift (and predictable). Kristi Noem, South Dakota's governor, tweeted about the exclusivity of the sneakers, saying, "But do you know what's more exclusive? Their God-given eternal soul." Rapper Joyner Lucas bemoaned the video's content in light of how LNX had become a favorite of children thanks to "Old Town Road." And there was plenty more.
Lil Nas X, expert poster, succinctly and resolutely shut down these (and other) criticisms, notably centering his replies around his right to create the kind of art he wants: "I made the decision to create the music video. I am an adult. I am not gonna spend my entire career trying to cater to your children. That is your job."
He told Governor Roem, "ur a whole governor and u on here tweeting about some damn shoes. do ur job!" He released a winking "Satan's Extended Version" of the song. He uploaded an "apology" for the sneakers on YouTube that is hilariously not an apology at all.
And, in my personal favorite moment, LNX also put a new version of "Montero" on YouTube — a "MONTERO but ur in the bathroom of hell while lil nas is giving satan a lap dance in the other room" video that plays on similarly excellent videos like this and this.
All his handiwork goes to show something that's evident to everyone who is even a little bit as online as Lil Nas X: He had a head start, he knows what he's doing, and he will win. This is all free promo for his new single. So, as a wise man once said, don't care, didn't ask, stream "Call Me By Your Name."