Kanye West calls himself a god in his new song, “I am a God”, on his album “Yeezus”. In case you aren’t as sharp as Kanye, Yeezus is a play on words combining his name and Jesus’ name. On the album Kanye lifts himself up as a god saying that if Jesus is the most high then, he is the “close high”. The album released today which causes me to wonder a few things about music’s recent commandeering of religious imagery. Is God angry with the bastardizing of His name and all of the imagery that comes with it, or is all of this, like many believe, all harmless word play by clever artists just trying to make a buck?
First and foremost, This hijacking of God’s name is not new. Rapper Jay-z has been going by the name Hova for years. Hova is a play on words with one of God’s names, Jehovah and the name Jay-Z (Jay-hova). Many rappers have long seen themselves as Gods among men. Rapper Meek Mill released a hit song entitled, “Amen”. In the song the rapper says “Amen” because of all of the beautiful women he has slept with. Another rapper, Pusha T, released a song proclaiming that he believes there is a god above him, but that he is just the god of everything else. Many rappers parade around with incredible amounts of Jewelry on, rapping about sex, money, drugs and murder, but around their neck is the symbol of a cross or a picture of Jesus face. Look no further than Rick Ross’ album ironically titled, “God forgives, I don’t”.
On the album cover above, Rick Ross is wearing 10 necklaces called , “Jesus Pieces”, around his neck.
The “Jesus Piece” trend continues with rapper The Game’s album entitled “Jesus Piece”. The album is filled with blasphemous imagery, metaphors and song titles. Nearly every track on the album has a controversial title, including songs like “church”, “pray”, “heaven’s arms”, and “hallelujah”. He also has a song entitled, “name me king” which conjures up comparisons to Kanye’s latest album and Jay-Z’s nickname. What’s more interesting is the album cover of the album “Jesus piece” which is posted below:
On the cover, a dark skinned Jesus, is wearing a gold chain with his face on it on stained glass windows. A tear drop tattoo is on Jesus’ face, symbolizing he has murdered someone.
Rap is not the only genre of music that has been wielding this christian imagery. pop star Ke$ha recently released a song die young. In the video she can be seen being sacrificed wearing all white on an alter, while upside down crosses flash in the background. One of her album covers for this song has her, kissing a red crucifix around her neck.
The list can go on in on. Jesus imagery in music has been so rampant for so long that it has become normative. Nearly every rapper has some form of religious undertones in their music. Which leads us to wonder, what does God think about this?
Well, it comes as no surprise that God is not happy. The language and imagery used is fully offensive to Christians, and it is offensive to God. The language used, takes holy things like prayer and Jesus and bastardizes them into sinful things. Saying Amen for sex like rapper meek mill, or calling yourself God like Kanye West is taking sinful ideas like fornication and idolatry and making them “funny”, “clever” and “cool” in our culture. The only logical conclusion is that God will judge those who dishonor Him. Many in hip-hop culture use Religious imagery to lift themselves up in pride, forgetting that scripture says to “humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up. (James 4:10)”
Do they do this on purpose?
I think it is fair to wonder, Do these artists want to offend God on purpose? We know they chose to use this language on purpose, but did they mean to offend God on purpose? I cannot speak for all of these people, but i would assume that it was unintentional on their part. Many of these people believe they are Christian, including Kanye West, who wrote the song, “Jesus Walks” in 2004. Unfortunately for him, he thinks that is enough to get himself into heaven. His lyrics in the song “Otis” say that, “I made Jesus Walks, so i’m never going to hell.” Paul says to workout your salvation with “fear and trembling” (Philippians 2:12), i assume this would include no blaspheming in songs. Jesus also says something sobering when he says, ”Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. (Matthew 7:21)” God does not take people at their word, but he also judges their fruit and their repentance.
With all that being said, I don’t believe many of these artists have purposely tried to offend God, however, it doesn’t change the fact that the language is offensive
Modern day demonism
Perhaps the artists only meant their actions to be “clever” or “trendy”, but there is one who meant evil with these actions and that is the prince of the air, Satan himself. He has infiltrated the music scene, bastardizing God through sinful artists. His desires are for this behavior to become normative and it certainly has. Satan manifesting himself in the flesh does nothing to get the world to follow him, but if he can use culture to manipulate the masses without even showing face, then he has certainly won that battle.
By logical conclusion, the actions of these artists, are demonic. Just as satan has wrecked generations before us, in scripture and out of scripture, he seeks to destroy this generation of music fans. Is this music harmless art, or is it bait on a hook set by the demonic?
One thing is for sure, Kanye West is wrong. He is not the God of this world. One much more evil sits above him ruling and reigning this planet.
Eddie Williams(Twitter: @realewilliams) is a Christian, a husband and a father, and public speaker, he also leads a ministry as a pastor, called REACH, a young adults ministry at his home church. The 5 year NFL veteran (Cleveland Browns, Seattle, Seahawks) speaks weekly at the ministry and has spoken across the U.S. at high schools, colleges, conferences and ministries about a vairety of topics, including leadership, health and faith. Eddie has been a part of numerous programs for youth, including NFL Play60. He has also given back to the community at organizations like the Cleveland Foodbank, Feed My Starving Children and Veterans hospitals.He has also been featured on SiriusXM radio and ESPN Outside the Lines. For more on Eddie, visit: Eddiejwilliams.me