Nike said on Thursday it has settled its lawsuit against the Brooklyn company that collaborated with Lil Nas X to produce his Satan Shoes, and that the shoes will be recalled.
MSCHF’s shoes are customized versions of the Nike Air Max 97 sneakers, with midsoles purporting to contain one drop of human blood.
They are also printed with Luke 10:18, a biblical passage referring to Satan’s descent from heaven. Only 666 pairs were made.
The shoes sparked outrage online over the weekend and attracted criticism from a number of high-profile political and religious figures, including South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem and the evangelical pastor Mark Burns.
The latter described the sneakers in a tweet as “evil” and “heresy.”
In response, Lil Nas X (whose real name is Montero Lamar Hill), posted a video to his official YouTube account titled “Lil Nas X Apologizes for Satan Shoe,” which has now been viewed over 1.8 million times.
WHO IS LIL NAS X?
Montero Lamar Hill (born April 9, 1999), known by his stage name Lil Nas X , is an American rapper, singer, songwriter, and media personality.
He rose to prominence with the release of his country rap single “Old Town Road”, which first achieved viral popularity in early 2019 before climbing music charts internationally and becoming diamond certified by November of that same year.
“Old Town Road” spent 19 weeks atop the US Billboard Hot 100 chart, becoming the longest-running number-one song since the chart debuted in 1958.
Several remixes of the song were released, the most popular of which featured country singer Billy Ray Cyrus.
Lil Nas X came out as gay while “Old Town Road” was atop the Hot 100, becoming the only artist to do so while having a number-one record.
Following the success of “Old Town Road”, Lil Nas X released his debut extended play, titled 7, which spawned two further singles, with “Panini” peaking at number five and “Rodeo” peaking at number 22 on the Hot 100.
His forthcoming debut studio album, Montero, is preceded by the singles “Holiday,” chart-topping single “Montero (Call Me by Your Name)” and “Sun Goes Down”.
Lil Nas X was the most nominated male artist at the 62nd Annual Grammy Awards, where he ultimately won awards for Best Music Video and Best Pop Duo/Group Performance.
“Old Town Road” earned him two MTV Video Music Awards including Song of the Year and the American Music Award for Favorite Rap/Hip Hop Song; Lil Nas X is also the first openly LGBTQ Black artist to win a Country Music Association award.
Time named him as one of the 25 most influential people on the Internet in 2019, and he was named on the Forbes 30 Under 30 list in 2020.
EARLY LIFE AND EDUCATION.
Montero Lamar Hill was born in Lithia Springs, Georgia, a small city outside Atlanta, on April 9, 1999.
He was named after the Mitsubishi Montero. His parents divorced when he was six, and he settled in the Bankhead Courts housing project with his mother and grandmother.
Three years later, he moved in with his father, a gospel singer, north of the city in Austell, Georgia.
Although initially reluctant to leave, he later regarded it as an important decision: “There’s so much shit going on in Atlanta—if I would have stayed there, I would have fallen in with the wrong crowd.”
He started “using the Internet heavily right around the time when memes started to become their own form of entertainment”; about when he was thirteen.
He spent much of his teenage years alone, and turned to the Internet, “particularly Twitter, creating memes that showed his disarming wit and pop-culture savvy.”
His teenage years also saw him struggling with his coming out to himself as being gay; he prayed that it was just a phase, but around sixteen or seventeen he came to accept it.
He began playing trumpet in the fourth grade and was the first chair by his junior high years, but quit out of fear of looking uncool.
He attended Lithia Springs High School and graduated in 2017.
He attended the University of West Georgia for one year before dropping out to pursue a musical career.
During this time, he stayed with his sister and supported himself with jobs at Zaxby’s restaurants and the Six Flags Over Georgia theme park.
In September 2019 he revisited his high school to perform a surprise concert.
FUN FACTS ABOUT LIL NAS X
1. He Played The Trumpet While In Grade School
Since a kid, Lil Nas X has been into music. In an interview with Rolling Stone, he admitted that while in grade school he played the trumpet.
2. He Left College To Pursue Music
In hip hop, there are lots of great stories about artists and their experiences with college or lack thereof.
3. His Record-Breaking Song “Old Town Road” First Went Super Viral on TikTok
The way that artists creatively promote music continuously evolves each year. Right now, one of the major platforms that assist in taking a song to the next level is TikTok, a social media app popular for sharing fun, most times music-based videos.
4. He May Change His Name Out Respect For Nas
As Lil Nas X’s popularity continued to grow and more people started to become aware of him, folks started to wonder what the inspiration was behind his stage name.
5. Last Year He Was Working At Zaxby’s and Six Flags
After Lil Nas X decided that he would be taking some time off from school to fully pursue music, he lived with his sister while working a job as a cashier at Zaxby’s and an attendant at Six Flags.
In July 2019, Time named him one of the 25 most influential people on the Internet for his “global impact on social media”, and “overall ability to drive news”.
In late July 2019, the MTV Video Music Award (VMA) nominations were announced, with Lil Nas X receiving eight.
He performed “Panini”, an “ode to the cartoon rabbit of the same name from Cartoon Network’s Chowder”, with a troupe of “Tron-inflected dancers” at the 2019 MTV VMAs.
There he also won two awards: Song of the Year, for which he is the first LGBTQ person to do so and the video’s Calmatic for Best Direction.
He was nominated for five fan-chosen 2019 Teen Choice Awards, winning Choice R&B/Hip-Hop Song for the Cyrus remix of “Old Town Road”.
“Old Town Road” is also the YouTube top song of the summer in the U.S. and over fifty other countries and territories; it is also their second top global song of the summer.
Lil Nas X and Billy Ray Cyrus’ remix also won the Country Music Association (CMA) Awards collaboration category, CMA Music Event of the Year; Lil Nas X is the first out gay man to ever be nominated for a CMA award, and the only openly LGBTQ person to win.
Vox noted the Event Award is not a part of the CMA televised celebration, and they snubbed Lil Nas X from bigger appropriate categories.
The “Old Town Road” remix with Cyrus has been nominated for a People’s Choice Award for Song of 2019, Lil Nas X was also nominated for “Male Artist of 2019” at the 45th People’s Choice Awards.
In October, at the 2019 BET Hip Hop Awards Lil Nas X, with Cyrus, won for Best Collab/Duo or Group, and Single of the Year.
In November 2019, Lil Nas X won the American Music Award for Favorite Rap/Hip Hop Song, he was nominated for four others including three for “Old Town Road” featuring Billy Ray Cyrus.
In November 2019, Lil Nas X was nominated for six Grammy Awards, including Record of the Year, Album of the Year, and Best New Artist, and eventually won Best Music Video and Best Pop Duo/Group Performance.
Lil Nas X’s success caused him to become the first person of color and the first openly gay performer to be listed by Forbes in its annual Highest-Paid Country Acts List.
Panini” was released as Lil Nas X’s second single through Columbia Records in June 2019.
It is named after the fictional rabbit of the same name in the animated television series Chowder and does not refer to the sandwich of the same name.
In mid-September 2019 “Panini” had its first remix released with rapper DaBaby.
In early July 2019, “Old Town Road” achieved its 13th week at the top spot on the Billboard 100, becoming the first hip-hop song to do so.
It is also the first song to sell ten million copies while in the top spot.
On its fifteenth week at the top, Lil Nas X became the first openly gay artist to have a song last as long, beating out Elton John’s 1997 Double A-Side—where both sides of the record are promoted as hits, “Candle in the Wind 1997″/”Something About the Way You Look Tonight”.
At nineteen weeks at number one, Lil Nas X holds the record for the most weeks since the chart was first introduced in 1958.
As of August 2019, the song has also charted nineteen weeks atop the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart, beating a three-way tie record.
At nineteen weeks at the top of the Hot Rap Songs chart the song has also beaten a three-way tie. By November 2019, the song was Diamond Certified, moving a combined sales and streaming ten million units.
Lil Nas X has been noted for his public fashions; in July 2019, Vogue noted Lil Nas X as a “master” at giving the cowboy aesthetic a glam look in his appearances and on Instagram.
His stylist, Hodo Musa, says he aims for items that are “electric, playful, colorful, and futuristic.
For his onstage look at the 2019 MTV Video Music Awards, he wore a cowboy motif cherry-red Nudie suit.
Wrangler, which is mentioned in the “Old Town Road” lyrics, has consistently sold out of Lil Nas X co-branded fashions.
For the 62nd Annual Grammy Awards Lil Nas X wore several outfits including a head-to-toe couture fuchsia Versace suit with a pink harness which took 700 hours to construct.
In July 2020, Lil Nas X modeled in a trailer video for a new skincare line by Rihanna’s Fenty Beauty.
Rapper and singer Lil Nas X recently launched a pair of “Satan shoes” to accompany his new single, “MONTERO (Call Me By Your Name).”
The shoes sold out almost immediately, but not without a heavy dose of controversy.
The 21-year-old collaborated with New York-based art collective, MSCHF, to release a limited collection of only 666 pairs.
The black and red shoes feature a bronze pentagram, an inverted cross and a drop of real human blood in the sole of a modified pair of Nike Air Max 97s.
After receiving immense criticism for the concept of the shoes on Twitter, Lil Nas X released a YouTube video titled “Lil Nas X Apologizes for Satan Shoe.”
In the 47-second-long clip, the rapper begins by holding one of the shoes next to him in the camera and says, “Okay guys, I see everybody’s been talking about this shoe and I just want to come forward and say …” before cutting away to a clip from his “MONTERO (Call Me By Your Name” music video. In the video’s scene he is seen dancing on a devil character before taking his crown and placing it on himself.
Nike came forward in a statement to CBS News, stating that it “(does) not have a relationship with Lil Nas X or MSCHF.
The Satan shoes were produced without Nike’s approval or authorization, and Nike is in no way connected with this project.”
Additionally, Nike was granted a temporary restraining order against MSCHF by the U.S. District Court in New York, temporarily blocking the sales of the “Satan shoes.”
Saturday Night Live also addressed the controversy last week, with a skit starring Chris Redd as Lil Nas X.
Redd dressed up as the rapper and gave a lap dance to an opposite figure from the “MONTERO (Call Me By Your Name)” music video, but this time, it was Jesus.
In the skit, Redd, as Lil Nas X, referenced the Nike lawsuit where he said “I don’t know why Nike is so mad. Their whole thing is ‘Just Do It.’ Well, I did it.”
Despite the criticism the “Old Town Road” artist has received online for the shoes and music video, he hasn’t been shy in responding.
In a since-deleted Tweet, one Twitter user criticized Lil Nas X for his Satanic concept, saying that it’s inappropriate for children, who were a large part of his success with his debut single, “Old Town Road.”
The rapper clapped back by responding “I literally sang about lean & adultery in the old town road. you decided to let your child listen. blame yourself.”
Lil Nas X is not new to controversy. His most recent involvement in a scandal came in January, when his Grammy Award’s outfit sparked a homophobic rant from Atlanta rapper, Pastor Troy.
It’s worth questioning why Lil Nas X is constantly criticized for his artistic expression when other artists are not. For example, Lil Uzi Vert often makes references to Satan in his music and public statements on social media, and although he has his critics, the online harassment he receives rarely meets the degree of Lil Nas X.
Maybe it’s because Lil Nas X is a 21-year-old gay, Black man in the spotlight. Critics view him as an easy target. Or, maybe it’s because he isn’t afraid to talk back to attackers.
Either way, the “Satan shoes” controversy doesn’t seem to be going away anytime soon, as Lil Nas X is refusing to back down this time.
In response to the Nike lawsuit, the rapper tweeted hinting at a possible rebuttal: “i haven’t been upset until today, i feel like it’s f*cked up they have so much power they can get shoes cancelled. freedom of expression gone out the window. but that’s gonna change soon.”