Lil Nas X has come under intense scrutiny for his new single and accompanying music video “J Christ”, which features religious imagery.
In the video, the rapper is portrayed as Jesus Christ. In the song, he refers to Jesus as “the man who had the best comeback”.
It also sees the gates of heaven opening for celebrity lookalikes of A-list stars including Taylor Swift, Kanye West, Mariah Carey, Oprah and Barack Obama.
Other Biblical-oriented scenes in the music video involve the musician as Noah, as he builds an ark and sets sail after the great flood.
There is also a one-on-one game of basketball between an angel and a demon, and the musician nailed to a cross.
The music video is also loaded with LGBTQ imagery, with the song’s hook reminiscent of Kendrick Lamar’s “Humble”.
“J Christ” and its music video trended on social media on Friday across the world, including in South Africa.
In a tweet shared after the new single’s cover art was made public this week, the rapper denied that he was being blasphemous or mocking Jesus.
“The crazy thing is nowhere in the picture is a mockery of Jesus. Jesus’s image is used throughout history in people’s art all over the world.
“I’m not making fun of s***. yall just gotta stop trying to gatekeep a religion that was here before any of us were even born. Stfu,” he recently wrote on X.
The rapper, whose real name is Montero Lamar Hill, has been facing criticism for the song, even before it was released, as he repeatedly used religious imagery to promote his music.
This includes his last full-length record, “Montero (Call Me By Your Name)”, which saw the provocative music video exploring a queer realm of mythological fantasy with its main stars being the musician himself and the devil.
“J Christ” and its accompanying music video has since received mixed reviews on social media.
@Karamo wrote on X: “Last tweet before I go to bed… @LilNasX is brilliant! We haven’t even begun to see his genius! This man is an #Icon.”
@xomarajs echoed similar sentiments when he also posted on the social media platform: “hate on lil nas x all you want but that man is ALWAYS going to serve you a bop with a visual on the side #JChrist.”
@BEENLIKEBARBIE added: “@LilNasX this is how you make a COMEBACK! 10s across the board.. #JCHRIST.”
But @ViLettuce was not a fan of the song and its video. He wrote: “Lil Nas X was genuinely horrible oh wow.”
@camdeion added: “Y’all really defending this trash that lil nas X put out and it’s honestly hilarious lmfao like are y’all okay.”