Chances are, you might be one of the many people who have driven the raunchy and flat-out awesome video for Lil Nas X’s “Industry Baby” featuring Jack Harlow to 160 million views on YouTube (and counting). You know, the one where Nas dances naked in a prison shower along with an army of equally naked and totally ripped backup dancers? In the clip, he breaks out of his prison cell in a metaphorical nod to removing the handcuffs placed on him by the music industry and now we know a heckuva lot more about the inspiration for the video thanks to the latest behind-the-scenes look in the Vevo Footnotes series.
The new clip has Pop-Up Video-style notes to every hidden reference and then some. “I wanted to go to a place people would least expect me to go in a music video,” Nas says early in the clip. “An overly masculine place and make it gay asf. I also wanted to visualize the theme of breaking free from the shackles society places on you.”
We learn that the Grammy statues in his jail cell are indeed his actual awards and that the security guard that he punches out while he makes his escape is played by Teen Wolf star Colton Haynes. Nas also confirms that while the video itself wasn’t inspired by The Shawshank Redemption, the escape through a hole in the wall with a pickaxe that Jack Harlow sneaks him was indeed inspired by the film.
Director Christian Breslauer chimes in at one point to explain the underlying point of the video:
“This visual is essentially a giant metaphor to represent Nas’s unwillingness to conform to the industry standards or be caged in because of his beliefs. No matter the scenario he will be who he is and no prison is strong enough to contain him.”
But the best part comes towards the end, when Nas admits that, “the hardest part of making this music video? Honestly? Twerking in front of Jack Harlow. Very uncomfortable.”
Watch the “Industry Baby” Vevo Footnotes clip above and listen to Lil Nas X’s latest album, Montero, out now via Columbia.
Jack Harlow is a Warner Music artist. Uproxx is an independent subsidiary of Warner Music Group.