Let’s break down Lil Nas X’s New Music Video


Tatiana Joseph-Saunders, Culture Reporter

Well then, this has been quite the week on social media and music platforms for Lil Nas X. His new music video for his highly anticipated song “Montero (Call me By Your Name)” has been a hot topic for its content, interpretations, and reactions. Though, this is not an article about all of the outrage. Mainly because I think the backlash is unnecessary and not deserving of the airtime it’s getting. The music video was (thoughtfully) created to get people talking, which makes it even more enjoyable. 

No, in this article, we are going to be looking at all of the religious or pop culture references that can be found in the video. I will be going in order of what’s shown, so feel free to play the video and follow along!’

The name itself,  “Call Me By Your Name” and Montero

“Call Me By Your Name” is a reference to the critically acclaimed movie/book by the same title, which is based on a book depicting the story of two men, one summer in Italy. One major point in the book and adaptation is that the two characters call the other by their name as a private way to show affection. The act exemplifies how you see your lover in yourself, to proclaim how much they mean to you. It’s a simple yet meaningful act of affection.

The CMBYN reference ties into the song title  “Montero” which is actually Lil Nas X’s first legal name. Looking at the CMBYNcontext, it’s clear by using his name as the song title, Lil Nas X is actually calling out to the song’s subject.


The cover art

For the cover of the single, Lil Nas X took inspiration from the historic Creation of Adam, the Michaelangelo painting illustrating the Biblical creation narrative from the Book of Genesis. Where God gives life to Adam, the first man.


Garden of Eden

The first act of the music video is set in the Garden of Eden, where viewers get a first look at the type of video this is. The Garden of Eden is the biblical paradise described in the Christian sacred text, the Bible. The well-known serpent of the same story also had a cameo in the music video. The seducer is played by Lil Nas X himself, in a half-human half-snake embodiment. The serpent in the video entices the main character from “the tree of knowledge” and lures him into the rest of the world of Montero.

Plato’s philosophical text Symposium

Right before viewers are taken to the next scene in the video, there is a closeup of an inscription on “the tree of knowledge”. The words are written in Greek and are an excerpt from Plato’s Symposium, where he recounts the origin story of mankind. The excerpt translates into “After the division the two parts of man, each desiring his other half.”


The Colosseum

Plato’s text disintegrates to transition into the next scene, where viewers see a new, pastel version of Lil Nas X as he is shackled and put to trial for the masses.

This could be a reference to the rumored stonings of Roman Catholics at the colosseum for their religious identity.



This is the most obvious and seemingly controversial reference. Lil Nas X goes on to show shapes (pentagrams), figures (the Devil) and sets that coincide with representations of Hell.

The music video definitely takes its viewers on an adventure, with a storyline to follow if you’re inclined to analyze it. Lil Nas X doesn’t hold back and does not seem to be catering to conservative or judgemental audiences, which is refreshing in 2021.