At 22 years old, Lil Nas X has already mastered the art of the music video — and the art of trolling homophobes. The rapper’s latest, “Industry Baby,” puts his flair for the dramatic and, well, himself on full display. How do you top giving a lap dance to Satan himself? By breaking a whole ensemble of nude inmates out of the prison that is masculinity, of course.
The cinematic “Industry Baby” vid, which features a verse from fellow hitmaker Jack Harlow, premiered Thursday night with Lil Nas’s signature meme-filled fanfare. But this time, all the twerking and grinding is in service of a good cause: The Bail Project.
The video opens on Lil Nas X in a hot pink prison uniform, passing time in the clink by polishing his Grammys and making it rain on his twerking cellmate. That scene gives way to easily the most memorable moment of the music video: a dripping wet, fully nude Nas dancing in the showers with some equally ripped, equally naked friends.
In the second verse of the Kanye West-produced track, he claps back at the “Old Town Road”-inspired “one hit wonder” haters, boasting, “Funny how you said it was the end, then I went, did it again,” before singling out the homophobes with the standout line, “I don’t f— b—-es, I’m queer but these n—- b—-es like Madea.”
The video also features a cameo from “Teen Wolf” and “Arrow” star Colton Haynes as a warden drooling over the “Montero (Call Me By Your Name)” video in secret.
Luckily, Harlow discreetly passes Nas a hollowed-out book with a shank inside, giving him the green light to carve out an escape route, à la “The Shawshank Redemption.” Except this time it’s not a Rita Hayworth poster concealing his plan, but a photo of himself making out with guys onstage in his notorious “Saturday Night Live” performance of “Montero” from earlier this year.
Now Harlow has the floor, rapping about his own doubters and seducing a female prison guard, as Lil Nas wriggles his way through the air ducts, eventually freeing the mass of pink-clad inmates.
The jail setting served a greater purpose than setting up that sexy shower scene, though. The video is also benefitting The Bail Project, a non-profit organization that pays bail for people who are not financially capable of doing so themselves.
Shortly before dropping the video, Lil Nas provided some insight into what the song and video meant to him personally. He shared a letter he wrote to his 14-year-old self that read in part, “I wrote a song for us, I know you feel like it’s all downhill from here. I know your sexuality has made you feel like an outcast amongst your peers…I need you to realize that you have the opportunity to be that person you needed growing up.”
Watch the full “Industry Baby” video here.