Can Lil Nas X do no wrong?
The highly-anticipated music video for his latest single featuring Jack Harlow, “Industry Baby,” is here — and it’s all the wretchedness his fans were expecting, and then some.
Picking up where his initial teaser left off, the rapper gets sentenced to “five years at Montero State Prison,” a cheeky callout to his real name, which is Montero Lamar Hill, and the name of his debut full-length album, Montero (release date TBA).
The video cuts to three months later, where Nas clearly is the queen bee in his cell block.
He struts down the row with his fellow prison mates, who are adorned in pink suits, before it cuts to an epic dance sequence in the prison showers, where they’re all nude — including Nas — and clearly unabashed.
Later in the video, Harlow, a fellow Montero inmate, slips the rapper a small pickaxe. Then, à la Shawshank Redemption, the duo help the rest of the prisoners bust out of jail (but not before another epic dance sequence in the yard).
With a story by Nas and direction by Christian Breslauer, the Take A Daytrip- and Kanye West-produced single is the rapper’s latest following “Montero (Call Me by Your Name)” and “Sun Goes Down,” both part of his forthcoming album.
The video also has an extra component, one with a much deeper purpose.
Nas teamed up with The Bail Project, a non-profit organization that raises bail funds for those stuck in pretrial detention.
When describing his choice to give back in this way, Nas wrote, “Music is the way I fight for liberation. It’s my act of resistance. But I also know that true freedom requires real change in how the criminal justice system works. Starting with cash bail."
"This isn’t just theoretical for me. It’s personal," he added. "I know the pain that incarceration brings to a family. And I know the disproportionate impact that cash bail has on Black Americans. People like Vita from New Orleans, Kamren from Austin, and Leticia from Baton Rouge — their stories remind us why we must take action."
"So," he continued. "I’m doing something about it and I invite you to join me. Ending cash bail is one of the most important civil rights issues of our time. Donate what you can to the Bail X Fund. Let’s bring people home and let’s fight for freedom and equality."
Nearly half a million people sit in jail before trial on any given day in the United States, according to The Bail Project.
In fact, young Black men are 50 percent more likely to be detained pretrial than white defendants, according to the Prison Policy Initiative. Additionally, Black and brown people receive bail amounts that are twice as high as white defendants. Overall, according to the data, 65 percent of jail populations are unconvicted defendants who cannot afford bail.
In true Nas fashion, the rapper is having fun with the slew of responses prompted by the release of the video.
— nope 👶🏾 (@LilNasX) July 23, 2021