Brow Beat

Lil Nas X’s New Video Is About the Futility of Trying to Escape Lil Nas X

Lil Nas X’s single “Panini,” so named in honor of the character from Chowder, is about fans who love you when you’re up and coming but cool off once you actually arrive. Lil Nas X has certainly arrived now that “Old Town Road” spent a record 19 weeks as No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100. A new video for “Panini” looks more 2049 than 2019, but it captures the rapper’s radio ubiquity in our own time as it imagines a future in which he’s literally inescapable.

Former Disney Channel star Skai Jackson plays a denizen of a futuristic city desperately trying to get away from Lil Nas X—including by hopping into a high-tech Uber and even jumping out of a plane. But whether as a hologram or in the flesh, he always comes back, singing “Now they need me, No. 1 on streaming/ Oh yeah, you used to love me/ So what happened, what’s the meaning?” The video is directed by Mike Diva and has a similar premise to one of Diva’s previous works: a fake Japanese ad about Donald Trump that went viral in 2016, which also featured a young woman whose world is utterly dominated by one particular celebrity.