The first words you think of when you hear Lil Nas X might instinctively be Old Town Road. But, the rapper is trying to move into the next phase of his career with his newest single Panini. In the video for the song, Lil Nas X has donned a look distinctly inspired by the world of comics. The viral sensation explained his thought process and how he scripted out the video on social media recently.
In a tweet showcasing his loose storyboard for the video, Lil Nas X shows off this comic-based inspiration with a nod to The Bionic Man #17. The series from Dynamite Entertainment focuses on the continuing adventures of Steve Austin. Kevin Smith helmed the series along with Phil Hester and Jonathan Lau aboard as artist. Alex Ross actually served as cover artist and Character designer.
i created the concept for the panini music video in june. so happy to see all the love it’s getting. pic.twitter.com/85I2B4d3Bs— nope (@LilNasX) September 8, 2019
This isn't even the first "comic book crossover" that the rapper found himself apart of in the past year. One of the (numerous!) videos for Old Town Road's many remixes featured Thanos and the Infinity Gauntlet. The Mad Titan is an easter egg for sure, but Billy Ray Cyrus, Young Thug, and Mason Ramsey all ride along past a number of pop culture references in their journey back to the titular road.
Old Town Road's Area 51 meme-filled video for this remix is an ode to the strange times that we seem to inhabit. Some of us haven't forgotten the deluge of internet joke formats around a planned raid on the secret government facility. Keanu Reeves even makes a star turn to help everyone fly past security while showcasing a pretty impressive Naruto run. (Wow, 2019 has been a ride.)
It is a testament to Lil Nas X's breakout single that we are even still discussing it, when the average shelf life of Internet oddities is usually a week at most. But, the rapper rode the wave of surreal humor and a catchy hook all the way to an astonishing 19 weeks at the top of the Billboard Hot 100 chart. This feat eclipsed the record set by Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee's "Despacito," also a true-blue earworm in its own right.
Lil Nas X might not have the same Billboard controversy powering his output these days, but he has absolutely mastered the way that young people consume media on numerous platforms. That viral knowledge led to gaining the attention of Billy Ray Cyrus, and from then, the ride to the top began picking up even more steam. Now, the rapper has a massive following and many are anxious to see what the follow-up effort to this year's 7 sounds like.