Lil Nas X Reaps 3 Grammy Noms for "Montero (Call Me by Your Name)"

by Kilian Melloy

EDGE Staff Reporter

Thursday November 25, 2021
Originally published on November 24, 2021

Lil Nas X poses with the awards for Best Music Video and Best Pop Duo/Group Performance at the 2020 Grammy Awards.
Lil Nas X poses with the awards for Best Music Video and Best Pop Duo/Group Performance at the 2020 Grammy Awards.  (Source:Chris Pizzello / AP )

Lil Nas X has garnered three Grammy nominations for his out and anthemic hit "Montero (Call Me by Your Name)," including song of the year, record of the year and best music video, NBC News reports.

The recognition "catapult[s] LGBTQ narratives to the highest echelon of achievement in the music industry," NBC News noted, recalling that the song's title "is a reference to the gay romance novel and 2017 film 'Call Me By Your Name'" starring Timothée Chalamet and Armie Hammer.

"In the music video for the song," the article said, "Lil Nas X is seduced out of what appears to be the Garden of Eden, falls into hell and gives the devil a lap dance."

Outlets have taken note of the video's deep-cut theological references and the way in which it wrests narrative control away from a longstanding homophobic interpretation of scripture. While conservative commentators and political figures seized on the video as a chance to blast LGBTQ+ representation in popular culture, history experts spoke admiringly of the video's highly informed critique of what are viewed as "traditional" religious views, TIME magazine said upon the song's release as a single last spring.

"'Montero,' across its three-minute runtime, is stuffed with Greco-Roman and medieval Christian motifs and messages in both Greek and Latin," TIME explained.

"Lil Nas, in an interview with TIME, says he wanted to deploy this type of iconography and symbolism to draw a connection between ancient and modern-day persecution," the TIME article added.

"I wanted to use these things that have been around for so long to tell my own story, and the story of so many other people in the community — or people who have been outcast in general through history," Nas X told the magazine. "It's the same thing over and over."

One expert who weighed in on the video's content was Prof. Roland Betancourt of the University of California, Irvine. Betancourt, who is the author of "Byzantine Intersectionality: Sexuality, Gender, and Race in the Middle Ages," told TIME that he was "a little bit shocked" at the video — not for the same reasons conservatives claimed to be, but rather "because of how much knowledge you need to have to unpack some of these elements."

To an educated eye, the video "says that institutionalization of homophobia is a learned thing," Betancourt said, "and that there are other origin myths available to us that are not rooted in those ideas."

In addition to the three nominations for "Montero (Call Me by Your Name," Nas X was also acknowledged with a nomination for Album of the Year for the artist's debut album, "MONTERO."

The nominations were hailed by LGBTQ+ equality advocates. The head of GLAAD, Sarah Kate Ellis, said in a statement that Nas X "continues to open doors for greater LGBTQ inclusion in rap and hip-hop, which will undoubtedly inspire and empower a new generation of artists to embrace their authenticity and individuality."

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Associate Arts Editor and Staff Contributor. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.