By now, there’s not a single news outlet that hasn’t covered Lil Nas X’s new “Satan Shoes.” They’re an epic symbol of our culture wars, and countless critics have predictably shared their heated opinions about the footwear on social media. Are they dope kicks, a mark of the Devil, or just a really clever marketing ploy?
We’re honestly not too concerned that a pair of sneakers will steal your soul. We’re more interested in how much Lil Nas X stands to gain from their release. In just two years, he went from being an unknown rapper to a major pop icon. There’s no doubt that fans and sneakerheads were willing to pay top dollar for his limited edition shoes. Find out how much the “Satan Shoes” fetched on the market, and whether or not they beefed up Lil Nas X’s net worth.
Lil Nas X Only Spent $50 To Make ‘Old Town Road’
Believe it or not, Lil Nas X spent all of fifty bucks to make the single that changed his life. A January 2020 Variety article itemized the rapper’s meager investment in “Old Town Road”. He paid $30 to download a beat from BeatStars, and $20 to record the track in under an hour at an Atlanta studio.
Lil Nas X didn’t just get a steal; he also dodged a bullet. He later found out the beat included a sample from the major label band Nine Inch Nails.
“I didn’t even know there was a sample until months after,” said the rapper. “I was like: ‘Sh-t!’”
Hindsight is 20/20, but Nas says he would have gladly paid more.
“Luckily, [NIN frontman] Trent Reznor [and Atticus Ross] approved of the sample because if he didn’t, I don’t know where I would be right now,” said Lil Nas X. “I don’t know if they have 50 percent, but they get a good [size] share of the royalties, which they 100 percent deserve… the song wouldn’t be here without them. I was like, ‘I don’t care if he takes 99 percent of the royalties.’ Just let the song stay out because I can build off it, you know?”
Perhaps Reznor is cringing at a missed opportunity. In January 2021, “Old Town Road” became the highest certified song in the history of the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). The country-trap hybrid reached 14-times Platinum status, and the music video has generated over 577 million views on YouTube:
Lil Nas X’s Recent ‘Satan Shoes’ Caused Major Controversy
At the end of March 2021, Lil Nas X teamed up with the Brooklyn-based art collective MSCHF to release “Satan Shoes.” (MSCHF’s past projects include a mash-up of Axe body spray and Chanel No. 5 perfume and a bong made out of a rubber chicken.)
The limited-edition collaboration consisted of 666 pairs of Nike Air Max 97s. The modified sneakers featured a bronze pentagram, an inverted cross, and a drop of human blood in the shoes’ soles. Each pair was priced at $1,018—a reference to the Bible verse Luke 10:18. (“And he said unto them, ‘I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven.'”)
The shoes sold out in minutes. Nike—which had no affiliation with Lil Nas X, MSCHF, or the shoes—was not pleased. The company immediately filed a lawsuit and requested that order fulfillment for the “unauthorized” shoes be permanently stopped. It argued that the use of its signature swoosh was “likely to cause confusion and dilution.” The company was also concerned that they had become the unfair target of a boycott as a result of the sneakers’ release.
This week, a US District Court in New York ruled in Nike’s favor.
Only one pair of shoes remain. Lil Nas X planned to give them away on Twitter; now he’s under legal orders to keep them to himself. He tweeted his frustration over the controversy:
“I haven’t been upset until today, I feel like it’s [expletive] up they have so much power they can get shoes canceled,” he continued. “Freedom of expression gone out the window. But that’s gonna change soon.”
Lil Nas X is more concerned with artistic expression than profit. Not counting the last pair of shoes that he’s still holding, he and MSCHF would have divvied roughly $677,000 in total sales. That’s just a drop in the bucket when you consider his net worth (more on that later.)
Lil Nas X Has Had Some Major Brand Partnerships
Lil Nas X is obviously not feeling any love from Nike. But as long as he survives this controversy, he can rest easy knowing has the support of many other brands. He was the star of a Doritos commercial that aired during Super Bowl LIV, and his country vibes also earned him a partnership with Wrangler jeans.
He’s also a hot ticket in high fashion. Last summer, he and Jane Fonda were the stars of a Gucci campaign. The pair were promoting Gucci Circular Lines—the brand’s new sustainable sister line. According to W, the threads are made using “as many recyclable and organic materials as possible… with saving the planet in mind.”
He Also Wrote A Children’s Book
It’s a shame that Lil Nas X’s new shoes overshadowed another recent project: his first children’s book. In January, he released C is for Country, a charming picture book that leads kids through letters of the alphabet. It quickly made The New York Times best-seller list.
“C is for Country goes out to every amazing kid out there who sang along to ‘Old Town Road’ on repeat and helped change my life forever,” said the rapper. “I hope this book inspires them and makes learning the alphabet a thousand times more fun. I’m so happy with how it turned out, and I can’t wait for the world to see it.”
And unlike other celebrities’ children’s books, Lil Nas X’s literary debut has been celebrated by critics and parents alike. “[His] brand of joyousness, boldness, and abundant love follow through in this alphabet book,” wrote Kirkus Reviews.
What Is Lil Nas X’s Net Worth?
Between his music and endorsements, it’s safe to say that Lil Nas X will survive without revenue from his “Satan Shoes.” Celebrity Net Worth believes he’s sitting on about $7 million, while Forbes‘ valuation is double that amount.
We’re inclined to believe the latter figure of $14 million. His most recent single “Montero” has already attracted over 75 million views in its first week, and his popularity shows no signs of slowing down. Given that he’s only in his early 20s, we think he has a long and fruitful career ahead of him.