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Camila Cabello & Lil Nas X Are Having The Messiest, Freest Summer

The gospel according to “He Knows.”

by Carson Mlnarik

It’s going to be a “real bad b*tch” summer if Camila Cabello and Lil Nas X have anything to say about it. The two pop stars broke down the meaning behind their club-mess collab “He Knows” in a new video for Genius and proclaimed that they’re channeling the track’s braggadocio all season long.

Although Cabello described the house-leaning bop — which serves as the second single from upcoming album C,XOXO — as a “tease song,” she admitted it’s a marked departure from her typical romantic fare. “I’m the one that’s the lover girl,” she explained. “I’m totally simpy … but not anymore, not this summer.”

The Ojerime-sampling track fits the unfiltered and messy pop-girl vibe established by “I Luv It,” the hyperpop lead from Cabello’s record, and in the clip, Lil Nas X revealed he was inspired by her sonic turn. “I feel like the energy of C,XOXO is … freeing,” he said. “I feel like that’s really where I am in my life and I think it’s really beautiful to see this side of Camila.”

Perhaps that’s why the “Montero” rapper approached the track (and his first-ever feature) with a single missive: “How can I make the sl*ttiest, most fun, homo, sexual verse of my career?” he said.

Later in the video, Cabello added that the straightforward lyrics in “He Knows” empowered her to sing from a confident place not often afforded to female pop stars. “As a woman, you don’t really get to say stuff … like ‘I’m drunk on power right now,’” she said. “It’s not really a very ladylike thing to say because you kind of adopt a more fragile, submissive position … In this song, it’s the opposite.”

The former Fifth Harmony singer also gushed about her collaborator, whom she called a “cultural icon” and “true artist.” And it’s clear the feeling is mutual as the duo held hands, nearly kissed, and made gunshot sounds throughout the interview.

“I think [Lil Nas X] likes when I say ‘handprints on my *ss cheeks,’” Cabello quipped in the outtakes, referencing the rapper’s chart-topper “Industry Baby.” Her new bestie could not keep a straight face.

C,XOXO arrives June 28.