Not only did Lil Nas X’s MTV VMA performance receive a huge introduction from Billy Porter, but he also brought a marching band out to play the triumphant brass section of his hit song “Industry Baby.” Recreating part of the music video, the stage reproduced the “Montero Prison,” where Nas performed alongside pink-jumpsuit-clad dancers, flouncing through his cheeky choreography before being joined by a latex-covered Jack Harlow. After Harlow’s bridge, Nas hit more choreo modeled after the video’s infamous shower scene (he wore a pink Speedo for modesty’s sake), finishing out with a flourish of his other mega-hit “Montero (Call Me By Your Name).”
The timing of Nas’ VMAs appearance couldn’t be better. His debut album, Montero, is due for release in just six days. His performance caps a months-long rollout that included the releases of the controversial videos for “Montero (Call Me By Your Name)” and “Industry Baby,” a pregnancy announcement complete with a maternity shoot, and a slew of attention-grabbing performances on shows such as the BET Awards and Saturday Night Live.
Nas’ performance also accompanies five nominations, including Video Of The Year, Best Direction, Video For Good, Best Visual Effects, and Best Art Direction for “Montero (Call Me By Your Name).” The video, which drew the ire of conservative commentators and old-school hip-hop heads, featured a fantasy setting in which Nas descended from paradise to a hellish underworld via stripper pole, where he offered a lapdance to a devilish ruler before killing and supplanting him on the throne.
Watch Lil Nas X’s VMA performance of “Industry Baby” with Jack Harlow above.
Jack Harlow is a Warner Music artist. Uproxx is an independent subsidiary of Warner Music Group.