Kanye West has transformed and transfigured from a young rapper representing the Southside of Chicago, to an icon, a rap genius, a god. His persona has continually evolved from his arrival on the Hip Hop scene, leading to his emergence as, "Yeezus." This essay argues for an investigation of Kanye’s theological claims through the lens of his own body, particularly the balance between how he conveys what it is like to be a black man in an American culture plagued by racism and the potential of the black body to assert its incarnate godlikeness in his music. In addition, this essay explores West’s newest record, The Life of Pablo, and its implications for Yeezus. The results of the study highlight Kanye’s evolution—somewhere between "Yeezus," "black god," "new slave," and now, "Pablo" (Paul). I argue that Yeezus represents a deification and The Life of Pablo is a de-deification, as communicated in the words of Kanye himself.
© The Journal
"From Yeezus to Pablo: An Existential Theology between God, Blackness, and Being,"
Journal of Hip Hop Studies: Vol. 5
, Article 11.
Available at: https://scholarscompass.vcu.edu/jhhs/vol5/iss1/11