After going to hell and back (literally) during his last album cycle, rapper and pop provocateur Lil Nas X is ready to walk through the Pearly Gates.
On Friday (Jan. 12), the singer unveiled his long-awaited new single “J CHRIST,” a pounding pop-rap track that sees the “Call Me By Your Name” singer reveling in his own comeback — much like the “MAN WHO HAD THE GREATEST COMEBACK OF ALL TIME” Jesus Christ, as Lil Nas X described him.
Lil Nas X wrote and directed the official music video, which arrived at midnight and stars the artist playing various roles in heaven and hell. The “Old Town Road” star hoops it up on a basketball court, plays a cheerleader, gets it on the gladiatorial ring, and we see him strapped to the cross.
“Is he up to somethin’ only I-I know?/ Is he ’bout to hit ’em with the high-igh note/ Is he ’bout to give ’em something vi-iral,” he sings on the slick chorus, before later declaring that “B—h, I’m back like J Christ.”
“J CHRIST” marks Lil Nas X’s first official release in over a year — his last release, the League of Legends collaborative anthem “Star Walkin’,” released in September 2022.
The release comes on the heels of a major marketing push from the “Industry Baby” singer, who spent much of the week promoting the single through a series of viral posts. In one string of TikToks, Lil Nas X joked that he was releasing new gospel music independently, while threatening to “expose y’all favorite artists” with his new song. An Instagram post, meanwhile, saw the singer post a fake acceptance letter to Christian college Liberty University, telling his followers that “not everything is a troll” (representatives for the university have since said that they did not admit Lil Nas X for the fall 2024 semester).
The rapper drew intense criticism in the run-up to releasing “J CHRIST” for his use of religious iconography, with commentators claiming that he was “mocking” and “disrespecting” Christianity.
Lil Nas shut down the claims in a tweet, saying “Jesus’s image is used throughout history in people’s art all over the world. I’m not making fun of shit. yall just gotta stop trying to gatekeep a religion that was here before any of us were even born. stfu.”
Watch Lil Nas X’s “J CHRIST” below: