Lil Nas X released "Montero (Call Me By Your Name)" on Friday.
The artist revealed the song's inspiration in a video on Genius' YouTube channel.
The song is related to the 2017 film of the same name, Lil Nas X said.
Lil Nas X has revealed the meaning behind the lyrics for "Montero (Call Me By Your Name)" - and he said the hit song, released Friday, is only partially inspired by the 2017 film of the same name starring Armie Hammer and Timothée Chalamet.
"It was one of the first gay films that I had watched," Lil Nas X, whose real name is Montero, said in a video as part of Genius' "Verified" YouTube series. "I thought the theme was so dope, like calling somebody by your own name is love, keeping the love between you two." Though the song is named after the artist himself, that title is actually supposed to reference the man who inspired the song, as the two main characters called each other by their own names in the "Call Me By Your Name" film.
The artist, who publicly came out as gay in June 2019 amid the success of his now-Diamond status single, "Old Town Road," told Genius that the song was inspired by his real love life.
The lyric, "Cocaine and drinking and drinking with your friends / You live in the dark boy, I cannot pretend," referenced a man he fell in love with who was not out as gay. Lil Nas X said the line was a "double entendre," as he felt the man was in the dark because he was living "in the closet" and was unhappy.
Lil Nas X told Genius that he started writing the song the day after he hung out at the man's house, and that he wanted it to sound like he was telling a story.
The artist said that even the humming section after the song's chorus carries its own symbolic meaning, and that he meant it as a "mating call." The "Mmmhmmm" lines, like a head nod to signal interest in someone, reference when "you're talking without saying anything, but the other person knows what you mean."
The Georgia-native rapper also told Genius that the song alludes to the pressure he faces through his music as a member of the LGBTQ+ community. With the lyric, "Why me? / A sign of the times every time that I speak," the artist said he meant to point out that his own commentary is seen as him "opening [his] mouth for so many people."
"Not because I'm Lil Nas X," he added, "because of my identity."
Other moments of the song celebrated the artist's massive success, he told Genius. The lyrics, "A dime and a nine / It was mine every week," referenced the amount of time "Old Town Road" sat atop the Billboard Hot 100 - 19 weeks, or a dime (10) plus nine - which currently holds the record for most weeks at number one, after beating out Mariah Carey and Boyz II Men's 1995 song "One Sweet Day."
The artist said "Montero (Call Me By Your Name)," which enraged religious groups, right-wing pundits, and politicians who condemned the music video, was "the most real and the most vulnerable" he'd ever been on a song. "What it represents, the song itself within the industry - it has so many key points, which is why it's gonna be important for me and a lot of other people. It felt really great."
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