Lil Nas X

The ISD Editorial Board points out the hypocrisy of those who criticize artists such as Lil Nas X and Cardi B for being too "vulgar" for children, but ignore other artists who release the same type of "vulgar" music. 

On March 26, Lil Nas X released his new song and music video “Montero (Call Me by Your Name),” and soon after, people were quick to criticize it as “vulgar” and “immoral,” yet those people clearly missed the point of the satirical “gotcha” of the song and music video.

This song is not meant to promote Satanism. It's about a man being open about his sexuality and sexual encounters and taking the saying of “all gay people go to hell” and throwing it back at the people who say it. Yet for all of his openness, Lil Nas X is still facing backlash for speaking his truth, because even if it is in a satirical manner, the song is about much more than the devil and Christianity.

This is not the first time this sort of backlash has happened to musicians speaking out about injustices either related to religion or sexuality.

One of the most quintessential examples is when Madonna’s “Like a Prayer” was deemed “blasphemous” by the Vatican for scenes of the singer cutting her wrists in church and dancing in front of KKK-like burning crosses. But once again, the critics missed the point that Madonna and director Mary Lambert were making about racism.

A more recent example is when Megan Thee Stallion and Cardi B released “WAP,” a song about the women’s sexual desires. The video, where the women wore dominatrix-like outfits and grind on each other in a shallow pool, was also criticized. Most of the criticism went toward the song’s lyrics, however, for the same reason as the video, because it depicted women owning their sexuality.

Cardi B

Cardi B (pictured above) and Megan Thee Stallion were criticized for "WAP," a song the women released about their sexual desires and freedom. 

So yes, all three of these songs and the artists have been criticized for their musical decisions. But why is that a problem? The problem is the clear hypocrisy that has risen out of all this.

Shortly after its release, several high-profile men began criticizing “WAP.” Speaking to Far Out magazine, artist CeeLo Green said, “I get it, the independent woman and being in control, the divine femininity and sexual expression. I get it all.” But “at what cost?” Green asked. Ben Shapiro, a conservative political commentator, called it “really, really, really vulgar.” James P. Bradley, a Republican congressional candidate in California, said it made him “want to pour holy water in my ears.”

The hypocrisy then comes when male rappers’ explicit, even violent lyrics — like Too Short’s “Freaky Tales,” Eminem’s “Kim” or Three 6 Mafia’s “Slob On My Knob” — hadn’t been torn apart like “WAP.” CeeLo Green must have forgot that he, too, had a song expressing his own sexual desires, because the song “Horny” can be seen as just as “vulgar” as WAP.

The hypocrisy for Lil Nas X comes due to many decrying “Montero (Call Me by Your Name)” for being “satanic,” but rap history proves that hypocrisy. 

DMX’s Flesh of My Flesh, Blood of My Blood album cover depicted him doused in blood, and his “Damien” series was about him taking advice from the devil. Some other examples include the fact that Big L’s “Devil’s Son” is regarded as a hip-hop classic, and then there was horrorcore, which was an entire genre where artists waded in the darkness. 

“If hip-hop listeners really had a collective no-fly zone for satanic imagery, then it wouldn’t be so prevalent in hip-hop lore,” wrote Andre Gree in an article for Complex. “And if the criticism for the song was truly about defiling religion, there would be similar smoke for the numerous sexual scandals involving priests, pastors and young altar boys. Cries about the depiction of the devil are an easy way out for many people who don’t want to publicly admit that Lil Nas X’s sexuality bothers them.”

So if people are going to be critical of “WAP” and “Montero (Call Me by Your Name)” for the sexuality and “satanic” vibes, then they need to stop being hypocritical and targeting queer and women artists.

Another ridiculous reason both “WAP” and “Montero (Call Me by Your Name)” are also criticized is on the grounds that they “corrupted children.” 

Joyner Lucas saluted Lil Nas X for the video “creating viral moments, making people talk and creating content he already knew you were going to react to.” He called it “a formula guaranteed to work,” but then tweeted a sentiment that essentially said Lil Nas X should be cognizant of kids in his creative process because children liked “Old Town Road” and subscribed to him on YouTube. 

Lil Nas X replied, “I literally sing about lean & adultery in old town road. u decided to let your child listen. blame yourself.”

Lil Nas X Old Town Road

Lil Nas X's song "Old Town Road" is popular among children despite the song's references to drugs and adultery, as Lil Nas X himself pointed out, and many parents still allowed their children to listen. 

Similarly, “WAP” is by no means Megan Thee Stallion or Cardi B's first song, so parents should already know that their content is inappropriate for children. Cardi B said she wouldn't let her toddler jam out to "WAP," but added that that should go without saying since her music is for grownups.

"No, of course I don't want my child to listen to this song and everything — but it's for adults," she said.

Lil Nas X, Cardi B, Megan Thee Stallion and Madonna are all adults making music for adults. They have no responsibility for what any child but their own is listening to. If a parent claims that their music is “satanic” or “vulgar” or “corrupting children,” then they shouldn’t listen to it themselves or let their children listen to it; it is as simple as that.

Furthermore, these artists clearly hit home with their target audience, because “Montero (Call Me by Your Name)” debuted at No. 1 on Billboard’s Hot 100 chart, and “WAP” held No. 1 on Billboard’s Hot 100 chart for four weeks and drew 1.1 billion clicks on streaming platforms. These artists know their audiences, and if you don’t like their music, then you probably aren’t who they wanted their music to reach. Everyone in the United States has the freedom to express themselves, and that includes in art.

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(4) comments

Noah Kopischke

Yes, they have the freedom to write whatever they want. Yes, some people might like it. But that doesn't mean that I can't criticize it and say that it is horrible music. I can and I will say that because it is the truth. The stuff they write and sing about is not helpful or beneficial to anyone, even if you are some kind of "mature adult." If you wouldn't let your kid listen to it, maybe it's a sign that you shouldn't listen to it either.

Comment deleted.
Noah Kopischke

I agree that the article is pointless, but I don't think we should call anyone a brain dead retard. I do think that most of Metzger's articles are poorly written and trashy. I certainly would never employ him to write an article. I frequently post logical responses to his illogical and irrational opinions. But that doesn't call for personal insults. Even through vast disagreement, we still need to respect each other as fellow human beings.

Facts and Logic

I think the main reason people are upset about these songs is less because of the actual songs (which are obviously both poorly written and vulgar for the sake of vulgarity) and more because of the circumstances surrounding the songs.

WAP was revered by mainstream critics as it was considered to be empowering and liberating to women. Well, as a woman I'm calling BS on that claim. As a woman, I don't need to hear women singing about their sexual preferences and grinding on each other to feel empowered. Further than that, I find that behavior disgusting - and even hurtful to women's empowerment. Nobody watched that video and thought it was empowering to women - it completely sexualizes women all the way through. Don't all women hate it when men look at and only value them sexually? Wy then would we as women over-sexualize ourselves? I support the artists' (if you can call them that) freedom to produce whatever song they want, but I refuse to pretend the song is either empowering or liberating in any way.

Lil Nas X's song and video is nothing new. As stated in the article, there has long been a focus on Satanism, etc in these types of music? Is it disgusting and morally bereft? Yes. Should it happen? No, of course not. However, once again people have freedom to produce these songs and videos, even if they are disgusting. The problem with Lil Nas X's song is that he is specifically marketing it toward children. He performs at elementary schools. He writes children's books. He says himself that his main audience is children and that that is his goal. So, it's pretty clear he is trying to influence children with this song, which is pretty disgusting.

millan jessy

Thanks for sharing this post with us! I have been working as a content manager at this website for getting connected with people across the globe. Music is a great way to heel the soul and brain for keeping healthy in physically and mental state.

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