Lil' Nas X is the most trending artist of the day and he has Satan to thank for it. The rapper released a music video over the weekend, which includes him grinding up against, and then also killing Satan.
Naturally, it has over 34 million views already:
What really seems to be stirring up some conservatives and Christians is that the rapper coincided the release of his single with the release of 666 pairs of "Satan shoes" during the holiest week of the year for Christians, with Easter this Sunday. The shoes are modified Nike sneakers which contain a drop of blood in each shoe, a pentagram and the bible verse in which Satan falls from heaven inscribed on the side. The shoes sold for over 1,000 dollars each and all pairs are already sold out.
For context, the sneaker modification company released a pair of "Jesus shoes" the prior week with holy water in them.
One Fox News reporter was losing his shit so much, the weather guy had to correct him:
There have been a ton of critiques and a ton of free publicity sent Lil Nas X's way, that was reminiscent of the satanic panic in the late 80s for bands like Motley Crue, Judas Preist, Ozzy Osbourne and W.A.S.P..
Lil Nas X is having fun with it though, releasing this "apology" video (which actually just leads to the most incendiary part of the music video).
He also released this version
Here's a sample of some of the heat Lil Nas X is getting:
I guess what I'm saying here is I'm jealous that Lil Nas X has been able to capture the pearl-clutching demographic, and I can't even remember the last time such a thing happened to a metal band. It's not for lack of trying.
Cannibal Corpse released one of the most repulsive videos of the year, maybe ever, and the band received nowhere near the sort of mainstream backlash that Lil Nas X got. The old drummer of Five Finger Death Punch is literally portraying Satan and nobody bats an eye.
Behemoth have certainly made their fair share of blasphemous videos, and while they are certainly getting the attention of Polish lawmakers, nobody in the US bats an eye. When was the last time Fox News critiqued a metal band?
Perhaps it's because satanic themes have become so overdone in heavy metal, that it no longer has the edge it did thirty years ago. It's more surprising when a mainstream rapper does it. The fact that Lil' Nas X is a gay black man, and the video features him gyrating against Satan likely adds to the controversial discourse.
It's expected for metal videos to have satanic imagery and clearly it's more shocking when a hip hop act does it. But, is it also that mainstream media doesn't even bother paying attention to what heavy metal is doing?
It reminds me of that quote from Maroon 5's Adam Levine from a few weeks ago. "There’s no bands anymore, and I feel like they’re a dying breed. And so I kind of, in a weird way, as far as … I mean, there still are plenty of bands, and maybe they’re not in the limelight quite as much, or in the pop limelight, but I wish there could be more of those around."
Previously, he said "Rock music is nowhere, really. I don’t know where it is. If it’s around, no one’s invited me to the party. All of the innovation and the incredible things happening in music are in hip-hop. It’s better than everything else. Hip-hop is weird and avant-garde and flawed and real, and that’s why people love it.”
Now, this is not to say there aren't GREAT metal bands out right now, putting out incredible music. But they just aren't getting the mainstream attention that artists like Lil Nas X are getting. What Levine was trying to say is there are no rock bands in the mainstream currently, which isn't too far from what Gene Simmons is trying to get at with his repeated "rock is dead" comments.
What can metal as a genre do to be a part of the mainstream conversation? You might say 'well, metal doesn't need to be in the mainstream' but I disagree. Metal needs new fans to keep moving forward. We need new artists and new blood, and the best way is to have some form of wide net to reel people into the genre.
So congratulations to Lil Nas X. It's crazy that there are still people that think Satan is a literal being that can actually convert/demonize people.
Even The Church of Satan is on board.