Lil Nas X pops the shirt off and takes a shower at Montero Jail at the VMAs

This is the world of Lil Nas X; we just live in it.

The “power bottom rapper” and five-time Video Music Awards 2021 nominee took the stage at Barclays Center on Sunday (September 12) to perform some of his latest hits. And it did not disappoint. Performing on a hot pink set alongside fellow “Industry Baby” collaborator Jack Harlow, Nas X took the stage in his finest marching band attire.

The duo and their hunky, all-male backup dancers then took a trip to the (fictitious) Montero State Prison, spitting bars as Nas X took off his shirt. Harlow rapped his verse in an all-black, all-vinyl prison suit, exchanging some lyric about “handprints on his butt” to a round of applause.

As if that weren’t enough, Nas X took the stage even further back into the scorching showers of Montero Prison for a sultry, skin-deep performance of his single “Montero (Call Me By Your Name).”

We have no words, just one question: Where can we grab a pair of these rhinestone-studded “Montero” boxers?

The 22-year-old rapper first shot to fame in 2019 with “Old Town Road,” his chart-topping hit track with legend Billy Ray Cyrus. He kept the momentum going with a handful of new releases, including “Montero” and its accompanying music video. The song’s epic, shamelessly queer visuals — which depict a Nas X CGI descending into hell via a stripper bar and giving Satan a lap dance — earned him a nod at this year’s VMAs for the Best Video, Best Direction, Best Art Direction, Best Visual Effects, and Best Video for Good. Take that, enemies!

This isn’t Nas X’s first VMA rodeo either. After an electrifying rendition of his song “Panini,” he scored Song of the Year and Best Achievement at the 2019 VMAs for “Old Town Road.” And those are just two of the total eight categories he was nominated in that year. Hell, his first album, Montero, hasn’t even gone down yet. One thing is certain: this “baby of the industry” has an exciting career ahead of him.

2021 Bryan Bedder/MTV VMAs 2021/Getty Images for MTV/ViacomCBS

The 2021 VMAs are broadcast live on MTV from the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. Find the full list of winners here and follow all the biggest VMA moments of the evening!

Elizabeth J. Harless