Kanye is enigmatic in many ways. His continuous reference to deity while still embracing a person like 452 makes him worth the study and effort to explore his contribution and effect in the Hip Hop cultural continuum. This article investigates, Kanye West from a theological and spiritual standpoint to provide insights from his theological aesthetics. While the ever-growing field of Hip Hop studies begins to explore religion in Hip Hop, the present work seeks to address this and develop new theologies/theories that fit both a Hip Hop and Black theology context. While the formal discipline of theology in the United States focuses on Christianity, and a good scope of this project takes a Judeo-Christian approach, it is noted that Black theology is much larger and complex than Judeo Christianity—such is the case with Kanye West as well. This project seeks to add to the study of Black theology grounded in a Hip Hop context. Using a duo methodological approach—qualitative media analysis and Jon Michael Spencer’s theomusicology—this article explores the symbolism and transmediation of Jesus in Kanye West’s music and concerts between 2011 and 2013. This research explores West’s transmediated images of Jesus through a socio-hermeneutical process—a qualitative analysis of language (verbal & non-verbal), imagery, and the tropes it produces for a Black theological discourse. Finally, this article will argue that West’s imagery of Jesus expands the imagination and worldview on the concept of Jesus and provides a Hip Hop socio-hermeneutic for Black theology.
Hodge, Daniel White
"Yeezus Is Jesuz: Examining the Socio-Hermeneutical Transmediated Images of Jesus Employed by Kanye West,"
Journal of Hip Hop Studies: Vol. 6
, Article 8.
Available at: https://scholarscompass.vcu.edu/jhhs/vol6/iss1/8