Lil Nas rides second wave of controversy

(Photo: NYTimes)
Exactly two years ago, a young rapper with buzz on TikTok released a remix with Billy Ray Cyrus, and a pop-culture juggernaut was born.

That song, “Old Town Road” by Lil Nas X — a “country-trap” hybrid that mixed a booming bass line with an acoustic sample from Nine Inch Nails, and featured winking lyrics about the outlaw cowboy life — became a phenomenon, holding at No. 1 for a record-breaking 19 weeks and minting Lil Nas X as a master of music marketing and character sculpting in the age of social media.اضافة اعلان

This week, Lil Nas X, now 21, is back at No. 1 with a new song and a fresh online sensation. “Montero (Call Me by Your Name),” with a corporate brouhaha over online sales of “Satan Shoes” (modified Nike Air Max 97s, supposedly with a drop of blood in the soles — drawing a lawsuit from Nike), is in some sense a 21st-century re-creation of the controversy over Madonna’s “Like a Prayer” video from 1989.

As was the case with Madonna’s song, which drew condemnation from the right and panic from Pepsi, the furor mainly serves to drum up even more attention for Lil Nas X. (This time, a whip-smart Twitter feed from the star adds another dimension of entertainment and self-expression.)

“Montero” opened at the top of Billboard’s Hot 100 chart with 47 million streams in the United States, according to MRC Data, Billboard’s tracking service.