Lil Nas X’s ‘Christian Era’: Rapper Embarks On Bizarre Marketing Campaign For New Single—Drawing Renewed Blasphemy Accusations

Lil Nas X’s ‘Christian Era’: Rapper Embarks On Bizarre Marketing Campaign For New Single—Drawing Renewed Blasphemy Accusations


Ahead of the release of his new single “J Christ” on Friday, Lil Nas X has gone viral trolling fans in a variety of online stunts—including posting a video of himself dressed as Jesus taking shots, and making dubious claims the music industry blackballed him—which has sparked some criticism of his use of religious imagery, while others feel he’s orchestrating these controversies for attention.

The rapper will drop his new song, “J Christ,” on Friday. (Photo by Emma McIntyre/Getty Images for … [+] iHeartMedia)

Getty Images for iHeartMedia

Key Facts

Lil Nas X, the rapper known for his chart toppers “Old Town Road” and “Montero (Call Me By Your Name),” began teasing new music in December by stating he’s entering his “Christian era.”

Over the past week, he’s evoked Christian imagery in the marketing for his new single, “J Christ,” by posting cover art depicting himself as Jesus on the cross, claiming his new video will premiere in churches and uploading a TikTok video of himself dressed as Jesus while taking shots of red wine and eating communion wafers.

His online claims have become increasingly bizarre—including his reportedly false claim that he would attend the conservative Liberty University for Biblical studies, though some were quick to note the fake acceptance letter he posted was signed by the school’s now-deceased former president, Jerry Falwell.

The rapper also took aim at his label and the music industry in a series of videos, claiming he would drop his new music independently after a scuffle with Columbia Records—though his label has been promoting his new single on social media.

Lil Nas X also claimed the media stopped supporting him after he adopted religious imagery and vowed to “expose” the music industry for allegedly blackballing him—claims Billboard called “increasingly ridiculous.”

Though some skeptics have accused the rapper of manufacturing controversies to market his new music, Lil Nas X has said “not everything is a troll,” and he criticized people for seeing “everything I do as a gimmick.”

Chief Critics

Some critics, including controversial social media influencer Andrew Tate, took issue with Lil Nas X’s religious marketing tactics, with Tate calling him “weird” in a tweet. Kai Cenat, a popular streamer with more than 8 million Twitch and Instagram followers, said he “hates” the rapper for his treatment of Christianity and declared that God will “handle him.” Brett Cooper, a Daily Wire conservative commentator, accused Lil Nas X of “making a mockery” of Christianity. Some users popular on Christian TikTok posted videos critical of the rapper, and many of Lil Nas X’s recent TikTok comments are from users who say they’re praying for him or urging him to ditch the religious aesthetics.


Not everyone is buying Lil Nas X’s “Christian era,” however, as some have accused him of manufacturing controversies for marketing purposes. Conservative pundit Candace Owens said she’s “past the point of caring” about his controversial marketing tactics, accusing him of purposefully trying to spark outrage among Christians for attention. One TikTok, viewed more than 300,000 times, questioned the rapper’s switch to Christian imagery after he notoriously adopted a Satanic aesthetic for previous music videos. One meme that circulated X, formerly known as Twitter, and liked more than 34,000 times, states: “lil nas x when you tell him to sell his music without manufacturing controversy,” paired with a video of a man screaming.


The star’s controversial marketing approach has resulted in big social media engagement for both Lil Nas X and for tweets criticizing, or poking fun at, his Christian aesthetic. The announcement of his single was liked more than 55,000 times on X, and a photo of the rapper dressed in angelic clothing was liked more than 32,000 times. A reply from “Satan”—a popular parody account on X with more than 2.6 million followers—garnered more than 100,000 likes, questioning the rapper: “did that lap dance mean NOTHING??” referring to Lil Nas X’s video for “Montero (Call Me By Your Name),” in which he dances on Satan. Tate’s critical post about the rapper was liked more than 83,000 times.

Key Background

The rapper is no stranger to sparking religious controversy. In 2021, alongside his video for “Montero (Call Me By Your Name),” which featured a depiction of Satan, the rapper released “Satan Shoes” in collaboration with fashion brand MSCHF. The brand claimed the shoes were made with a drop of human blood, and the product features a pentagram design, an inverted cross and a reference to a Bible verse. The shoes were altered versions of Nike Air Max 97s, though Nike sued MSCHF for the unauthorized use of its product, reaching a settlement that allowed customers to get their money back.

Crucial Quote

“My new single is dedicated to the man who had the greatest comeback of all time!” Lil Nas X said in his announcement of “J Christ.”

Further Reading

Lil Nas X Unveils His New Song Title, Jokes He’s Releasing Gospel Music Independently (Billboard)

No, Lil Nas X Was Not Actually Admitted to Liberty University to Study ‘Christian Leadership’ (Billboard)

Lil Nas X embraces sexuality, sparks Satanic panic online with new music video (ABC News)

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