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    January 12, 2024

The rapper’s blustery new single fails to deliver on a provocative premise.

Welcome to Lil Nas X’s heaven: We have uncanny pop star impersonators, human stew, and one-on-one basketball with the Devil. With a piano-forward beat akin to Kendrick Lamar’s “Humble.,” the rapper’s new single “J Christ” is a sibling to the brassy and braggadocious “Industry Baby.” Lil Nas X poses a series of open-ended questions from the perspective of his fans and skeptics: Is he plotting something? Will he give the internet a new meme? Will he hit a high note? (Spoiler: He will.) But, like fellow provocateur Doja Cat’s recent music, “J Christ” fails in part because it aims to alienate his already flagrant critics, rather than to welcome new converts. Sure, Lil Nas X is going to piss off a bunch of Christians by positing himself as Jesus, but where does that leave those of us who want to see him as more than just an instigator?