Early this week, the blogosphere was set abuzz by news that American Rapper Lil Nas X (Montero Lamar Hill) was selling branded sneakers for $1,018 (Ksh110,000) a pair. It is not the price of the “Satan Shoes”, as they’re known, that set tongues wagging.
It was the composition (a drop of human blood in each sole), the quantity on sale (666), and the ensuing lawsuit from apparel company Nike that thrust the shoe and its owner into international headlines. The company said basing “Satan Shoes” on the Nike Air Max 97s is copyright infringement and is likely to confuse customers.
Only the wearer knows where it pinches, but in this case, Nike was on the other end of the shoe. In restraining the rapper and the MSCHF, the shoe manufacturer from selling the shoe, US district judge Eric Komitee might as well have said, ‘Just don’t do it’- a word play on Nike’s motto, “Just Do It.”
But before the restraining order, celebrities had already snapped up the first pairs. One of the celebrities spotted wearing the shoes was Miley Cyrus of the Angels Like You fame.
In the larger entertainment context, the ‘Satan Shoes’ have reignited debate about the rap/entertainment industry link with Satanism. Of note, the shoes bear an inscription of Luke 10:18, which says, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven.”
The shoes were released to coincide with Lil Nas X’s single “Montero” in which he appears to praise dark forces. “In life, we hide the parts of ourselves we don’t want the world to see, we lock them away, we tell them no, we banish them. But here we don’t. Welcome to Montero,” the song begins. In the video, the rapper is portrayed giving “Satan” a lap dance.
The song has close to 100m views on YouTube and is trending on both iTunes and Spotify.
But since rapper LL Cool J sang “lluminati want my mind, soul, and my body/Secret society, trying to keep they eye on me/But I’ma stay incogni, in places they can’t find me” in the 1995 remix I Shot Ya, the entertainment industry has always been rumoured of having some allegiance to illuminati.
“What is important is that it was the first time the Illuminati was mentioned prominently on wax,” says online review website Complex.com. Conspiracy theories have since been deeply entrenched.
“Today, the Illuminati theory is as relevant as ever, often used as a way to justify the continued success of artists Jay Z, Beyonce, Eminem, Lady Gaga, Kanye West- who are accused of being puppets of this mysterious web of faceless figureheads,” writes Steven Horowitz in the August 2017 article.
While the antics of Lil Nas X may be nothing more than publicity stunts, they’ve no doubt entrenched this notion of allegiance to the nether, dark world.