What happened Sunday: Gov. Noem vs. rapper Lil Nas X on the ‘soul of our nation’

Rapper Lil Nas X, left, and South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem in these two photos from the Associated Press.

Watching a Twitter feud between South Dakota’s governor and a Grammy-winning rapper was not how I planned to spend my Sunday. And if you had Kristi Noem battles Lil Nas X over the “soul of our nation” on your 2021 Bingo Card, I really wish you would have told me. I would have tuned out for a bit. 

But it certainly did happen, so let’s do a quick recap:

The players: Rapper Lil Nas X, he of “Old Town Road” fame, recently released a single, and the accompanying video depicts him descending to hell, lap dancing with the Devil, killing him and then becoming him? Not exactly sure. It’s a wild video and definitely not suitable for work. 

Kristi Noem is the governor of South Dakota, a staunch social conservative and potential 2024 GOP presidential candidate. Currently she’s embroiled in a state and national debate over transgender girls participation in sports. 

The shoes: Fashion and footwear company SAINT promoted a sneaker collaboration with Lil Nas X and another fashion house, MSCHF, called the “Satan Shoe.” The shoe includes a Pentagram on the tongue and even a “drop of blood” in the shoe’s sole design. They say they are selling 666 pairs. The shoes are built on a Nike Air Max 97 base, and have become quite the lightning rod. (Nike is NOT on board.)

The Twitter fight: 

Noem – Initial salvo shares concern for kids, the nation’s soul and says we need to fight hard.

Nas X – “ur a whole governor and u on here tweeting about some damn shoes. do ur job!”

Noem – Bible verse.

Nas X – Quote from his own song (the one with the Devil video)

Nas X – Mocks up a quick Chik-fil-A shoe. “Ya’ll happy now?”

Winners: Both Noem and Nas X get what they want here. The governor’s fight riles up her base and increases her national profile by deriding an easy target in Satan and Satanic shoes. And maybe even helps with some distraction from her recent troubles navigating the transgender bill hubbub back home. 

Lil Nas X gets the promotion for his album that stunts like this are always built for. 

Losers: The rest of us, for getting caught up in something so dumb.  

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