X began teasing the joint in fall 2020, when he share a brief snippet in an Instagram video featuring him dancing alongside DJ/producer duo Take a Daytrip. Fast-forward to July 19, when X finally confirmed the song’s official release date, Harlow’s guest appearance, and the song’s co-producers, Take a Daytrip and Kanye West.
The news was accompanied by a trailer for the song’s video, which referenced X’s “Satan shoe” controversy with Nike. The prelude video showed the entertainer in court, as he was being questioned over the collaborative footwear design with MSCHF. The trial then takes a drastic turn, as the judge and prosecutor begin focusing on X’s sexuality.
A day before the song and video release, X shared a heartfelt note he penned to his younger self. The message encouraged the the “20-year-old Montero” to remain strong and to never stop believing in himself.
“I wrote a song for us,” the letter began. “I know sometimes you feel like it’s all downhill from here. I know your sexuality has made you feel like an outcast amongst your peers. I know going from having the biggest song in the world to being trapped in your apartment is weighing heavy on you. And I know if you hear the phrase ‘one hit wonder’ one more time, you might combust. But I need you to keep going. I need you to realize that you have the opportunity to be the person that you needed growing up. I need you to stop feeling sorry for yourself. And I need you to remember that the only person who has to believe in YOU is YOU.”
Nas X also spoke to Zane Lowe about the track and Jack Harlow on Apple Music 1’s New Music Daily.
“I love Jack Harlow,” Nas X said. “I feel like he’s one of those people that I can see like truly appreciating what they’re creating and where they want to go, you know? Like I love people that are… Like have these aspirations for much bigger place than where they already are, you know? I feel like he’s very much kind of in a situation right now where I feel like I was at a point where like… you know, like he’s already had like a huge moment and you know and more light ahead and I just want to like help give him that boost. I hope… That’s what I’m hoping this is for him.”
Also during the chat, the artist said that he’s “pretty much finished with the album.” He continued, “But you know, secretly, I, as we were just talking about like moments and whatnot, I pushed the album back from where I was originally going to drop it because of that fact that I want to give these singles some more time to breathe before I like drop music videos for songs that are already been out for a long time or whatnot.”
You can stream “Industry Baby” now on all major platforms and check out its official video via YouTube above. X has not confirmed whether the song is a stand-alone cut or if it’ll land on his upcoming debut studio album, Montero.