The Vulnerability of Lil Nas X’s SUN GOES DOWN
This article mentions depression & suicidal ideation. Some of the following may be triggering to read.
Not two months after releasing the unbeatable “Call Me By Your Name,” which has surpassed 5 billion streams worldwide, Lil Nas X has done it again. Opting for a completely different tune than his most recent release, the young rapper has chosen that his latest release will be more vulnerable to his inner self - as opposed to the Satanic lap dances previously (and most recently on Saturday Night Live, where he live-tweeted his inner monologue after ripping the rear of his pants during his performance.
The video’s main theme is one we’ve seen before - Lil Nas X himself playing multiple characters and roles. In “Sun Goes Down,” he takes on the role of his own Guardian Angel as the first shot in the video. We see him open portals to moments from his own life as we see the life we know now as fans. The camera then pans to show the portal of the high school version of him. It is then that the voiceover becomes more clear, as if to insinuate that it is him as the Guardian Angel speaking to his younger self.
In the song & video there are two selves. A younger version: the blond-bleached hair fast food worker who would rather die than live the life he has, and an older version: the Guardian Angel of himself that has come back to provide a beacon of hope for the young Lil Nas X. He sings about being closeted as a high schooler, dealing with racism, being bullied, and having suicidal ideation. To which his Guardian Angel Self tells himself; there’s much more to life than dying.
Unsurprisingly, the video has quickly become one of the most talked about music videos of this time. The memes came flooding out, many of them reacting to the dichotomy between the two music videos and songs, which was of course retweeted by Lil Nas X himself.
While most had a very positive reaction to the song, others didn’t.
In particular, those who had the most to say about the song were Nicki Minaj’s fans - endearingly called Barbz. In the song, Lil Nas alludes to Nicki Minaj when he talks about finding solace in her songs (he formerly ran an anonymous fan twitter account and identifies as a Barb himself).
The current Barbz felt that Lil Nas, even though he’s outwardly a former superfan, intentionally name-dropped Nicki Minaj so as to benefit from her fame. Lil Nas took to Twitter immediately, shutting it down;
As the reviews rolled in, Lil Nas continued to tweet outwardly share his experience about writing this song, publishing a 7:23 minute long Youtube video entitled “Official Lyrics & Meaning.” In this, he explains how the idea of the song came to fruition; “I wanna make a song that’s like a feel-good song, but kind of like, have like a dark piece to it.”
He later takes to Twitter to send this single tweet about his experience writing the song and, I think it’s safe to say that he has achieved his goals with this work of art. And we’re all better for it.
The dissonance between Lil Nas X’s most recent releases speaks volumes about how he’ll continue to grow through his fame and internal self within the confines of society as a young gay Black man. He first broke boundaries by showing us the overtly-sexualized theme Call Me By Your Name, but continued to stun us by breaking different boundaries in the vulnerable and emotionally-driven Sun Goes Down. With this, he creates a space for other LGBTQ+ people to follow in his footsteps: being unwaveringly yourself.
National Suicide Prevention Hotline: