Faith at Altitude

Religion and spirituality in the shadow of Pikes Peak

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Way out West

If you haven't seen it yet, take a look at this:

Yes, rapper Kanye West is stylizing himself as Jesus -- a calculated move designed to alienate lots of folks and get society talking.

He's succeeded on both counts. West is getting more attention now than when he said that President Bush doesn't care about black people; more attention than his two phenomenally successful (and critically acclaimed) albums garnered him.

But, in stylizing himself as Jesus, he's become a kind of antichrist to more than a few folks. Not that people who would be put off by the image would listen to a lot of rap music, anyway.

But one thing I haven't heard much about so far is the fact that West is one of the few mega-popular rappers willing to grapple with faith and religion in his lyrics. Granted, he's no Michael W. Smith or Bono. But his biggest single has been "Jesus Walks," which includes these lyrics:

The way Kathy Lee needed Regis that's the way I need Jesus
So here go my single dawg radio needs this
They said you can rap about anything except for Jesus
That means guns, sex, lies, video tape
But if I talk about God my record won't get played huh

West is a, shall we say, thorny fellow. I'd be interested to hear what you think about him.


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