Congratulations, Lil Nas X: It’s an album! But don’t send baby strollers to this new bundle of joy, since the parent is accepting celebratory gifts only in the form of charitable donations.
The day after the “Old Town Road” rapper brought Montero, his long-anticipated first full-length album into the world, he took to Twitter to encourage fans to donate to his “baby registry”. The 16 charities listed are predominantly dedicated to helping LGBTQ folks and Black communities in the south (a nod to his career’s county roots). Each cause corresponds with a specific track on the new album.
Less than 24 hours after Lil Nas X promoted the charitable baby registry on Twitter, it already raised tens of thousands of dollars, according to TMZ.
The Bros in Convo Initiative — a Florida-based charity dedicated to supporting local queer Black men that was paired with the track “That’s What I Want” — reported receiving over $33,000 from the album’s promotion so far. While by far the most substantial sum, the Black-led Transinclusive Group has also gotten $5,000 from being publicized alongside the album’s popular, titular “Montero (Call Me By Your Name)” single.
In the weeks leading up to the album drop, the extremely online Lil Nas X began a running gag on his wildly popular TikTok and Twitter pages. Depicting this creative labor of love as a literal baby in his belly, the baby announcement came complete with the kind of gorgeous, high-concept glossy magazine pregnancy photo shoots usually reserved for the likes of Beyoncé.
This final push for charities only goes to show Lil Nas X’s singular ability to harness his powers of online virality for good. In a rare sincere Twitter post on Saturday, the notorious internet trickster put jokes aside to say: “[O]n a serious note making this album was therapy for me. i began healing many unchecked wounds, facing skeltons [sic] in my closet i never wanted to, fighting internally every day and crying persistently, MONTERO is truly my baby. thanks for the love.”
Aside from being being a feat of online promotional campaigns that earned the album hundreds of thousands of streams in less than two days, Montero also received near unanimous praise from critics and fans alike. Entertainment Weekly described the debut album as proof that Lil Nas X’s talents are “limitless,” while Rolling Stone championed Montero as a “a subversive delight.”
It’s hard to imagine that, not too long ago, many disregarded Lil Nas X as nothing more one-hit wonder. But Montero has made it clear that his talent runs deep.