MONTERO (Call Me By Your Name)

Album: Montero (2021)
Charted: 1 1
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Songfacts®:

  • Lil Nas X was born Montero Lamar Hill, and Call Me By Your Name is the title of a 2017 film starring Armie Hammer and Timothée Chalamet as lovers in the '80s. In the movie, Hammer tells Chalamet, "Call me by your name and I'll call you by mine."

    As he explained in a Genius video, Nas saw the film not long before he had a tryst in the summer of 2020 when we was working on music. He got invited to the guy's place and fell for him hard. With the movie on his mind, he started writing the song the next day, and used the famous line in the film as the hook. So he's calling the other guy "Montero" in the spirit of romance.
  • The song gets pretty lusty, with lines like:

    I wanna sell what you're buying
    I wanna feel on your ass in Hawaii


    In the world of hip-hop, this kind of carnal talk is rarely heard in reference to a same-sex relationship, but Lil Nas X is out to change that.

    "I feel that's really important for representation in general, and this is going to open more doors," he told Genius. "This song is a sign of the times."
  • Most of the lyrics are based on real details of Nas' dalliance. The guy had drugs and alcohol at his place, but Nas wasn't into it. This was a struggle for him, because he knew the dude was headed down a dark place and didn't want to follow him. Some of the biblical references, like to the Garden of Eden, represent this temptation.
  • Nas previewed this song in a 2021 Super Bowl commercial he starred in for Logitech. The song was released two months later.
  • Lil Nas X released a highly erotic, CGI-heavy video for this song in which he grinds on a devil before killing him. Loaded with biblical imagery, it provoked many conservative and Christian groups, who took to the airwaves and to social media to denounce it. Nas, 21 years old, was the equivalent of a Twitter black belt and seemed to relish in refuting the attacks.

    Nas directed the video with the Ukrainian filmmaker Tanu Muino, who also did Cardi B's "Up."
  • The song was co-written and produced by:

    Take A Daytrip, which is the team of David Biral and Denzel Baptiste. They also worked on Nas' hit "Panini."

    Omer Fedi, a frequent collaborator of 24kGoldn who worked on the hit "Mood."

    Roy Lenzo, who worked on Nas' track "Rodeo."
  • The video begins with a spoken part:

    "In life, we hide the parts of ourselves we don't want the world to see. We lock them away. We tell them no, we banish them. But here, we don't. Welcome to Montero."
  • In conjunction with the song and video, Nas sold 665 pairs of "Satan Shoes," which are Nike Air Max 97s tricked out with a bronze pentagram, the number "666" and a drop of human blood. They cost $1,018 and sold out in a minute; there were plans to distribute the 666th pair in a giveaway, but Nike's lawyers stepped in with a lawsuit, claiming they were irreparably harmed because of the association with Satan. Nas' legal team said the shoes are a commentary on how "Nike will collaborate with anyone," and argued that the snearkerheads that bought them knew very well they weren't endorsed by Nike. Miley Cyrus posted photos of herself wearing the kicks on Instagram.
  • Helped by the publicity generated from criticism of the song's hell-themed music video and accompanying Satan Shoes, the song debuted at #1 in both the UK and US. It was Lil Nas X's second chart-topper in both territories, following "Old Town Road."
  • Lil Nas X joined a long list of artists including The Sex Pistols and Madonna, who have set out to generate publicity by outrage. By engineering moral panic through controversial lyrics and videos, they ensure plenty of media coverage and online conversations. The interest this creates then translates to record sales and streams.
  • "MONTERO (Call Me By Your Name)" received five nominations at the 2021 MTV Video Music Awards. It won three of the categories, including the prestigious Video Of The Year award. The rapper performed both "MONTERO" and "Industry Baby" at the ceremony.
  • This won Best video at the 2021 MTV Europe Music Awards held in the Hungarian capital Budapest. Some criticized the location because of Hungary's decision to adopt laws against the LGBT community earlier in the year.
  • Lil Nas X performed part of this song at the Grammy Awards in 2022, where it was nominated for Song Of The Year and Record Of The Year. It lost in both categories to "Leave The Door Open" by Silk Sonic.

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