Kanye West’s outspoken newfound faith in Christ has people divided on his real implications of preaching Christianity. It’s just a little hard to grasp the polarizing change that Kanye has gone through – from his rampant dialogue to his infamous Make America Great Again advocacy to his now calm and collected persona. He exudes a new aura that reflects his awakening in Christ, one that is in harsh contrast with his past rampant self.
Since his debut album, College Dropout, West has gone from christening himself as Yeezus to seeking God’s kingdom. It wouldn’t be enough to say that West has merely dabbled with religion in his music production. Kanye’s incorporation of religion in his music isn’t anything new. His iconography of Jesus and God stretch all the way back to the early days of his career, from the release of his single “Jesus Walks” in 2004, to the release of his widely acclaimed 2013 album, Yeezus. While defending himself from backlash for releasing a track titled, “I am a God” in his Yeezus album in 2013, West refused to recant, laughing, “I made that song because I am a god. I don’t think there’s much more explanation.”
West’s most recent project, Jesus Is King, is an album that is composed of a much more robust template with simple Christian platitudes. You can find some bright undercurrents in the album though, with saxophone solos via Kenny G, and an auto-tuned Fred Hammound. Fans of West and album critics remain generally supportive of this album, with some even proclaiming it as Kanye’s best work. The question remains, however, whether Kanye’s Christian enlightenment is only a facade to connect to Christian audiences, or if he really has an established faith. West sells an assortment of merchandise on his website, with all of the products having large Christian logos and pictures of Catholic saints. And with most of the prices for these goods being on the higher end, many perceive West to be using Christian symbols and values for profit.
“Who’s gonna say that if they’re not meaning that they want Christ to be exalted in all that they do?”, defends Kanye, when asked by a Complex reporter on the legitimacy of his faith. “From now on, all I want to do is serve Christ. I want every song that I sang, to have part of my testimony, to include the gospel, and to include the element of worship to our great God. That’s what I want to do.” If that’s what Kanye wants, nobody’s stopping him. After all, we’re all in a spiritual journey ourselves – we might as well support Kanye’s.