By Israel Matthews —
Formerly foul-mouthed rapper Kanye West joined a pack of hip hop artists turning to Christ and dropped a Christian album last week, jolting secular critics and enthralling spiritually-minded devotees with plenty of surprises.
He provides a soulful intensity that delivers everything you’d want in Christian rap, interspersed with comedic elements. His beats are exhilarating, a cut above most of his peers in Christian Hip Hop.
Before Christ, his rap was often unprintable even on secular new sites. He’s still not one to mince words, but only now he’s adamant and forthright about his faith. The album’s title could have been from Kirk Franklin: Jesus is King.
“Closed on Sunday” is hilarious, a nod to Chick-fil-A, the popular sandwich joint that keeps the Sabbath, to the joy of its staff and the chagrin of hungry patrons.
Closed on Sunday, you’re my Chick-fil-A
Hold the selfies, put the ‘Gram away
Get your family, y’all hold hands and pray
When you got daughters, always keep ‘em safe
Watch out for vipers, don’t let them indoctrinate.
“Selah” is another standout with multiple verses from the Bible. It references the fact that his ninth album was supposed to be Yandhi but got jettisoned when Kanye accepted Jesus and became born-again.
Before the flood, people judge
They did the same thing to Noah
Everybody wanted Yandhi
Then Jesus Christ did the laundry.
Kanye used to be unapologetic about his misogynistic lyrics. He’s still a lightning rod for controversy, only now he’s making a stand for Jesus — and unpopular politics.
“Everybody thinks they’re so woke, but they’re following the rules of what woke’s supposed to be,” he says. “Everyone around me is trying to pick my candidate for me… because blacks are supposed to have a monolithic thought (we can only be Democrats). You can’t bully me. Liberals can’t bully me.”
Kanye launched at the pinnacle of secular hip hop in 2000 when he revitalized Jay-Z’s career producing “The Blueprint.” With eight prior albums, Kanye is considered one of the most influential and highest achieving contemporary musicians with 140 million records sold worldwide and 20 Grammies. In 2014, he married reality star Kim Kardashian, who despite her many dalliances had a background in Christianity.
“Only Gospel music from here on out,” Kanye reportedly said.
“There was a time I was letting you know what high fashion had done for me, I was letting you know what the Hennessy had done for me,” Kanye says. “But now I’m letting you know what Jesus has done for me, and in that I’m no longer a slave, I’m a son now, a son of God. I’m free.”
With so much sway over popular culture, the effects can only be good. No doubt, some of his former fans will lose interest while others will continue to appreciate his old music while turning up their noses at his new stuff. But for sure, a number will no doubt follow his lead to find Christ.
Read about other Christian hip hop artists by clicking: 1K Phew – Aaron Cole – Ada Betsabé – Andy Mineo – Bizzle – Canon – Cass – Datin – Flame – Gawvi – HeeSun Lee – Jackie Hill-Perry – JGivens – John Givez – KB – Lecrae – Lil T Tyler Brasel– MC Jin – NF – nobigdyl. – Propaganda – Ray Emmanuel – Ruslan – Sevin – S.O. — Social Club Misfits – Steven Malcolm – Tedashii – Tobe Nwigwe – Trip Lee – Wande Isola – WhatUpRG
Israel Matthews studies at the Lighthouse Christian Academy of Santa Monica.