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All The Glorious Memes, Reactions to the Birth of Lil Nas X’s Industry Baby Montero

A star is born.

Lil Nas X holding his child for the first time. (Image: Lil Nas X and Columbia Records.)

On the eve of his debut album release, Lil Nas X launched a flurry of his final (who knows, really?) promotional teases and gags. This included showing his baby shower (that no one went to), a long-form interview with Apple Music, and billboards promising compensation for those that hate the rapper/singer, are gay, miss the “real America,” or are just single.

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Also, the mother-to-be did a collab with Spotify showing that he is a renaissance man even outside of writing music and storyboarding the visuals for his album. This included playing the harp, writing a haiku, trying rattlesnake sausage, performing a ribbon dance, and of course, experiencing the joy of painting like Bob Ross.

Finally, he appeared on the fictional talk show The Montero Show with Lil Nas X playing himself, the obnoxious host, and the sole audience. While holding a top 8 video countdown, pregnant Lil Nas X revealed that his number 1 video would be released at the end of the show. However, the show cut short when his water broke on air and ended the stream abruptly.

After years of gestation, Lil Nas X gave birth to Montero at 12:01 AM on September 17, 2021.

Like most parents, Lil Nas already had high expectations for Montero. This includes exclaiming through heavy breaths, “It’s already Grammy-nominated!”

With the album’s release, came several visual elements uploaded for each song and the promised music video.

“Thats What I Want” gave us star-crossed, small-town lovers and safe sex. Where “Montero (Call Me by Your Name)” referenced the film Call Me by Your Name, “Thats What I Want” paid homage to the book-turned-movie Brokeback Mountain.

Because only fans were up to listen to a midnight album drop, I have seen nothing but rave reviews, with people sharing memes, reactions, transcriptions, and their fave tracks.

In addition to fans, critics and celebrities (real and fictional) showed love for the album, too.

This included Lizzo joining in on the meme that goes a little something like this: “I’ve never been a fan of Lil Nas X, but this new album has me _____.”

Speaking of physical reactions, many listeners felt the gaiety overcoming them. The conservatives might have been on to something because people are turning gay?!

In all seriousness, this album is so beautiful, and the visuals throughout are a masterclass in storytelling. As our own Briana Lawrence explained in her essay about the “Montero (Call Me By Your Name)” music video and the accompanying letter, Lil Nas X is showing the queer community they can and should “take up space.”

(image: Lil Nas X, Columbia Records.)

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(she/her) Award-winning artist and writer with professional experience and education in graphic design, art history, and museum studies. She began her career in journalism in October 2017 when she joined her student newspaper as the Online Editor. This resident of the yeeHaw land spends most of her time drawing, reading and playing the same handful of video games—even as the playtime on Steam reaches the quadruple digits. Currently playing: Baldur's Gate 3 & Oxygen Not Included.