Lil Nas X doesn’t fail to bring his genius creativity in his iconic new single and music video “Industry Baby,” featuring Jack Harlow and brief cameos from Jason Momoa and Colton Haynes, which is out today (July 23).
The music video is set following the events of the prelude trailer that detailed a fictitious court trial over his infamous Satan shoes. The “Old Town Road” rapper is sentenced to five years in Montero State Prison for being gay, but it doesn’t stop him from working out with Momoa and busting moves naked in the prison showers or in a pink jumpsuit in the prison yard.
In the pre-chorus, Lil Nas X explicitly says this new track is a huge “fuck you” to all his haters. “And this one is for the champions / I ain't lost since I've began, yeah,” he sings. “Funny how you said it was the end, yeah / Then I went and did it again, yeah.”
We see Harlow hand a copy of the Book of Montero with a tiny pickaxe placed discreetly inside, which Lil Nas X uses to break a hole in his cell wall to hatch an escape plan. After creeping through secret tunnels, he smacks a head security officer (Haynes), who was secretly watching the rapper’s “Montero (Call Me By Your Name)” video.
Harlow raps the second verse to poke fun at the scrutiny and notoriety of his career. “It's too late 'cause I'm here to stay, and these girls know that I'm nasty,” he raps. “I sent her back to her boyfriend with my handprint on her ass cheek.”
We eventually see him strapped to a chair and electrocuted by Lil Nas X in an ironic upending of expectations, since now a straight guy rapping about women is being shocked for his sexuality.
The video continues with the two rappers being photographed for their mugshots and Lil Nas X leading a large-scale choreo routine in the yard. Near the end, Lil Nas X and his fellow inmates escape on a bus as the sun rises before the guards wake up.
Alongside the release of “Industry Baby,” Lil Nas X launched the Bail X Fund for the nonprofit organization The Bail Project, which promotes the abolition of cash bail and to aim in paying bail for people who are not financially capable of doing so themselves.
“Music is the way I fight for liberation. It’s my act of resistance,” he said in a statement. “But I also know that true freedom requires real change in how the criminal justice system works. Starting with cash bail. This isn’t just theoretical for me. It’s personal. I know the pain that incarceration brings to a family. And I know the disproportionate impact that cash bail has on Black Americans.”
Right before “Industry Baby” dropped, Lil Nas X posted a touching personal letter to his 20-year-old self to be proud of all his achievements, like he did ahead of “Montero.” Grab some tissues.
Lil Nas X is expected to debut his full-length album Montero sometime this summer, although a release date is yet to be announced.