It can’t be proven with science, but there’s something about celebrity tattoos that make them way more interesting and mysterious than tattoos on regular folks. It’s not just major instances of A-listers getting tatted up with ink like Jason Momoa’s huge head tattoo or the unknown but incredibly high numbers of tattoos on stars like Pete Davidson and Harry Styles. Whenever a celebrity debuts new ink, the internet loses its cool. Such is the case with Lil Nas X’s first tattoo. In typical Lil Nas X style, his posts about the process are hysterically funny, but it’s the meaning behind the rapper’s new ink that’s most impactful.
While visiting Barcelona, Spain on Thursday, Nov. 17, the 23-year-old rapper stopped by a tattoo parlor to get his very first tattoo on his inner wrist. Dressed head to toe in Dior athleisure wear, the Montero singer pulled a face while receiving the small symbol, which looks about two inches long. Lil Nas X shared several photos of the new ink, but his selfies caused a bit of consternation among fans who couldn’t make out exactly what the symbol stands for.
“Is that an IUD?” asked one commenter. “It looks like devil horns,” wrote another Instagram user. Scroll through the 2,000+ comments and you’ll see a lot of people guessing instead of using the clue shared by Lil Nas X himself.
The sixth photo in his post’s gallery is an image of some of his Montero album art. If you’ve been following the two-time Grammy winner’s career, you’ll know that his most recent album wasn’t just full of bangers. Montero, which is the musician’s legal first name, is an album about Lil Nas X’s queerness and his journey from closeted teen to openly gay Black man, an identity fraught with pressure. It makes so much sense that Lil Nas X’s first tattoo would incorporate a visual representation of his journey, which he has admitted left him feeling hopeless and battling depression.
According to fans on Twitter, this symbol was featured prominently during Lil Nas X’s promotion of the Montero album. “You said we’d understand what that symbol meant during the montero era but never explained,” wrote one fan on Twitter. Another fan emphasized the symbol’s importance, tweeting “the way the whole fandom was planning on getting this too,” indicating that this symbol has been on Lil Nas X’s mind for at least a year, if not longer.
For his part, Lil Nas X shared the images of his tattoo, the Montero inspo behind it, and does not appear to be taking questions or getting into the comments at this time. However, given that he is known for being social media savvy, it’s likely that he’ll have something to say about his new ink in the future. Until then, “Alexa, play ‘MONTERO (Call Me By Your Name)’ and order tissues.”