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Meaning of the song ‘MONTERO’ by ‘Lil Nas X’

Released: 2021

Lil Nas X spins a tale in “MONTERO (Call Me By Your Name)” that explores the complexities of a relationship, the pitfalls of indulgence and the struggle of individuality in a non-accepting society. This musical piece is a journey through the singer’s personal discovery and a bold assertion of his unapologetic attitude.

The first verse presents a narrative of temptation and attraction: “You hit me with a call to your place / Was hoping I could catch you throwing smiles in my face.” The phrase “caught it bad yesterday” is hip-hop lingo for feeling a strong attraction or obsession towards someone. He further admits, “Romantic talking? You don’t even have to try / You’re cute enough to fuck with me tonight,” highlighting physical attraction that doesn’t need any sweet-talking to magnify.

The line “Looking at the table all I see is weed and white” indicates a presence of recreational drug use, the ‘white’ often referring to cocaine in hip hop circles. His observation, “Baby, you living the life, but nigga, you ain’t livin’ right” is a clever jibe expressing a concern over the reckless lifestyle of his companion. The following lines, “Cocaine and drinking with your friends / You live in the dark, boy, I cannot pretend / I’m not fazed, only here to sin” suggest a critique of a hedonistic lifestyle while also asserting his own choice to flirt with sin without being adversely affected.

The chorus is filled with a passionate plea that underscores a yearning for companionship depicted through the repetitive “Call me when you want, call me when you need…” His desire is further emphasised through “Call me out by your name” which is a bold assertion of wanting a deeper, intimate connection.

In the second verse, the provocative lyrics such as “I want that jet lag from fucking and flying” act as a metaphor painting a picture of a sexually liberated and passionate relationship. Nas X also comments on societal expectations and criticises them through “Never want the niggas that’s in my league / I wanna fuck the ones I envy, I envy.” His frank exploration of same-sex relationships, apparent jealousy and aspiration is a direct challenge to homophobia within the rap community.

The concluding lines bring a sense of vulnerability and the struggle of coming to terms with one’s own identity. “Call me by your name (mmm, mmm, mmm) / Tell me you love me in private / Call me by your name (mmm, mmm, mmm) / I do not care if you lying” is a heart-rending request for secret love and connection, even if it is fraught with deception. It’s a powerful depiction of the challenges queer individuals face due to societal pressures and stigmas.

“MONTERO (Call Me By Your Name)” is a bold testament to Lil Nas X’s prowess as an emerging voice in the hip-hop world. Its vivid narrative, along with its unfiltered and authentic dialogue on identity, desire and societal norms, resonate throughout, proving once again the power of hip-hop in elevating voices and experiences that are often sidelined.

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