After blowing the world away with his otherworldly style all-around, Lil Nas X has returned for another shocker of a music video. The single, titled “INDUSTRY BABY,” features rapper Jack Harlow and is all about exceeding what others expected from you.
While snippets of the song have been circling for months, the video was an entire experience in itself.
The announcement of the song’s release date came after Lil Nas X had been talking about being nervous before having to go to court for a Nike lawsuit Monday, July 19. Fortunately, it seemed to just be a promotion for the new song as a precursor to the actual video was released that day, playing on the lawsuit, ending in the rapper getting sentenced to five years in the fictional “Montero State Prison.”
The single and official music video following the story was then put out Friday, July 23, taking place inside the prison, showcasing the rapper’s time there.
Lil Nas starts the track by listing his accomplishments and referring to the fact that many critics dismissed him as a “one-hit wonder.” But, to some people's surprise, he has dropped many other chart-topping singles since “Old Town Road” and is here to stay.
The initial verse is fast and fun, as Nas talks about what he wants to get done, as well as his pop-rap versatility. Then, he goes on to make another brave statement about his sexuality.
In a Genius Verified episode, he stated the following about the line:
“I feel like this is super important because I know, like, following 'Call Me By Your Name,' a lot of people expected me to like, 'OK, he’s learned his lesson. He’s going to calm down. He especially wouldn’t do this in a song like this.' Nah, I’m going to keep saying shit like this. Like, these are, these lines are my life. Like, this is actually me. And there’s somebody growing up, like, hearing that. And they’re like, 'Damn, when I rap, I’m gonna say shit like this, too.'”
In the visual, the men are dancing in pink jumpsuits, then get fully nude for a “shower scene” composed of a sensual choreographed act, further showing that the artist is not straying away from being wild, no matter what the world has to say.
The fact that Lil Nas X is unapologetically himself is something that the music industry needs more of, especially in the rap community. His fearlessness and unique style alone are something that sets him apart from many other artists.
Next, Jack Harlow, another star that quickly rose to fame, raps about his own feelings about success in the music industry. The visual shows him with a beautiful woman behind him as he states, “I send her back to her boyfriend with my handprint on her asscheeks.” Harlow and Lil Nas are super different in some ways, including their sexualities, but nevertheless, the pair came together to create a hot summer track.
Additionally, the YouTube video is a fundraiser for The Bail Project, a national nonprofit designed to combat mass incarceration by disrupting the money bail system one person at a time.
“Music is the way I fight for liberation. But true freedom requires change in how the criminal justice system works, starting with cash bail. I know the pain that incarceration brings to a family, and I know the disproportionate impact that cash bail has on Black Americans. There are so many stories that call on us to take action, and I invite you to join me in this important civil right issue,” Lil Nas X stated.
This act shows that the artist is not only good at music, but also a good, genuine person who cares deeply about the lives of others. The video has already raised close to $50,000 in donations.
While I do think that Lil Nas X’s sound and music alone could use some work and has the potential to be way better, I do feel that his entire artistry, from style to visuals to personality and more, are an amazing experience, nonetheless. From funny TikToks, to controversial videos and selfless acts, there is not another person in music right now that could be called the “industry baby” like Lil Nas X.
I would give this release an 8 out of 10.