Religion Undertones in “Watch the Throne” by Kanye West and Jay-Z

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Caption: I got this photo at the following link: http://splashysplash.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/jay-z-roc-a-fella-chain-cross.jpeg. This is Jay-Z who is one of the rappers that created this album that has many religious and biblical references within it. I chose this particular image because he is wearing his cross “bling”.

Jay-Z has been known to call himself “Hova”, which is a play on Jehovah. Both Jay-Z and Kanye West think that they are on top of the rap music scene therefore they compare themselves to God and other important powerful Biblical figures. They are so wealthy that they can afford these expensive cars and bling, but doesn’t Jesus say in Matthew 19:24:“Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.” And, aren’t Christians  not supposed to compare themselves to God and think of themselves as God? Don’t Christians believe that God created man equally? Doesn’t Paul state in Acts that God “has made from one blood every nation”. Based on the class presentation today it appears to me that they praise themselves more than they praise a religious figure. I definitely saw how the lyrics “lies on the lips of the priest” could be related to the Protestant movement. The people thought that the Catholic priests weren’t telling them the whole truth and wanted to discover the Bible and God for themselves.

In Jay Z’s song entitled “Why I love you” he includes the lyrics “please Lord forgive him for these [homies] not know what they do”. This particular line really stood out to me because it reminds me of the image of Jesus on the cross and he says (Luke 23:34) “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.” That is almost word for word the same statement and I’m not sure if Samantha pointed that out or not, but that also makes Jay-Z seem like he thinks he is a Jesus-like figure and powerful as well.

This presentation was interesting to me because when I hear rap on the radio, I feel as though I’m just listening to them rap about drugs, alcohol, and sometimes the degradation and mistreatment of women so I turn it off, but now I’m more interested in seeing how many other rappers include religious references within their music. Maybe rap is more complex than I thought.

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