Two weeks after taking home two Grammy Awards, Lil Nas X has debuted the official video for his remix of "Rodeo," done in collaboration with his namesake, Nas. Like his other videos that have proceeded it, Lil Nas infused his latest with imagery and tropes of genre elements that probably shouldn't work together, but they really do.
"Rodeo" begins with Lil Nax X answering a payphone out in the middle of nowhere, confronted by an unseen evil voice that harkens back to the likes of the Scream films (or even When A Stranger Calls if you want to go further back). The voice tells the young rapper that he "wants to play a game," a direct line from the killer Jigsaw from the Saw franchise (the latest of which, Spiral, just released its first trailer). After this Lil Nax is immediately attacked by a vampire and converted.
This is when the biggest example of Lil Nas' genre imagery influences becomes clear. The now vampiric Lil Nas X walks down a street, confronted by houses with garlic around the entrance, one man holding a cross, and even a Buffy like character wielding a crossbow. From there Lil Nas enters what could best be described as a vampire convenience store where other vampires appear alongside him and feed on unsuspecting victims. If you look close you'll also see a reference to the Doritos commercial that Lil Nas X appeared during the Super Bowl.
Things take a hard left turn after that, while still maintaining the vampire imagery, as the video pays tribute to The Matrix. Nas himself appears dressed as Laurence Fishburne's Morpheus, he even offers Lil Nas X a red or blue pill to take. He naturally accepts the red which immediately sees pieces of the infamous Matrix code appear behind him.
Afterwards Lil Nas runs from "Agent" looking characters that fire guns at him in a sequence that pretty well emulates the lobby shootout from the first Matrix movie. Lil Nas X also appears in an almost Tron-like version of Neo's outfit from The Matrix sequels, he even leaps through the sky like Neo. Overall it's a dense 3 minute video but its pop-sensibilities from the mind of Lil Nas X and his collaborators "Bradley & Pablo" has clear influences on display.
Nominated for six Grammy Awards at this year's ceremony, the 20-year-old artist took home two awards for Best Pop Duo/Group Performance and Best Music Video, both for his "Old Town Road remix featuring Billy Ray Cyrus.