Lil Nas X has addressed the religious backlash he recently received, and opened up about the emotional impact it has had on him.
The backlash towards the rapper and singer emerged following him teasing the new single, ‘J Christ’, earlier this month – his first new single in two years.
Released on January 12, the song came alongside a self-directed video that spoofed various biblical stories; including Lil Nas portraying a godlike figure at the gates of Heaven and playing a one-on-one basketball game against Satan.
He was depicted on a crucifix in one scene too, and the cover artwork showed him laid on a cross as five bystanders began to raise him off the ground.
Now, the 24-year-old artist has shared the impact that the negative response has had on him, and revealed that he finds it ‘depressing’ to see the single spark such controversy.
“I’ve never been here, mentally and even physically, where… you push your art into the world, and it’s received negatively by the majority,” he told Jay Shetty in a recent appearance on his On Purpose podcast. “But then, like, also understanding why, and having to see it through.”
He also joked that he enjoyed sparking chaos “when I can control it”, adding, “I’m usually strategic with things and I can kind of move the conversation.” However, this time around he revealed he found the scale of the backlash “depressing”, adding that: “You can become super angry with yourself.”
As for the intended message behind the imagery, he explained that it wasn’t supposed to be offensive, but rather show his return to making music.
“Artistically, it was just supposed to be like, I’m returning… I’m back like him. [But] it turned into this whole thing where it was me trying to dunk on Christians or something.
“That was never what it was. And then I looked at the video with me eating the communion or whatnot, and I was like, ‘Okay, this looks really bad on paper – this thing that I thought was just, like, a little jokey, fun video.’”
He also added that the backlash made him question whether his religious family members would also be offended by the video – saying it would be “really messed up” if they were.
This isn’t the first time that the rapper has denied trying to upset anyone with the aesthetic. Shortly after the song’s release, Lil Nas said he never intended to make a “mockery of Christ” with the visuals. He also apologised for a TikTok video which saw him eating communion bread and drinking wine from a chalice while dressed as Jesus.
While the ‘J Christ’ visuals received a stamp of approval from the Church Of Satan – with the organisation’s leader David Harris calling the clip and song “fantastic” – shortly before the song’s release Lil Nas announced that he would be going to university to join a Biblical Studies programme.
In other Lil Nas X news, last week the rapper dropped a reflective new track titled ‘Where Do We Go Now?’. The song was written by the rapper and singer as part of his upcoming HBO documentary, Lil Nas X: Long Live Montero.