Kanye West provoked several pastors to pick apart track No. 3, “I Am a God,” of his sixth studio album, “Yeezus.”
“I think it’s easy to see that West’s view of both God and himself are problematic,” he told Wade-O Radio. “For one thing, God is holy. This song is not. Second, God is loving. This song is not. Third, God is redemptive. This song is not. In short, nothing about this song or the character in it resembles the nature and character of that one true and living God who gave his son as an atonement for our sins, to deliver us from His wrath, to raise us forgiven and justified, and to make us His own in love.”
Listen to ‘I Am a God’: HERE.
WARNING: Song contains explicit language. Please do not listen if you will be offended by it.
Some Christians accused West of blasphemy following the announcement of his album title and several of the same reactions to “Yeezus” have carried over to “I Am a God.”
West revealed the inspiration behind the song to W Magazine’s Christopher Bagley. Prior to Paris Fashion Week this past fall, an unnamed fashion designer invited West to a prestigious runway show on one condition: that the hip-hop artist stay away from the remainder of the shows. A fuming, offended West penned the lyrics the following day.
“Nobody can tell me where I can and can’t go,” he told the publication. “Man, I’m the No. 1 living and breathing rock star. I am Axl Rose; I am Jim Morrison; I am Jimi Hendrix.”
When Charles Nevin of BBC started a rumor in March that West’s album would be titled “I Am God,” Malik Yusef, a West G.O.O.D. Music labelmate and co-writer, clarified on Twitter.
— Malik Yusef (@malikyusef) March 26, 2013
The writer of Psalm 82, Asaph, quoted God in verse six which reads, “I said, ‘You are “gods”; you are all sons of the Most High.’
Here is Psalm 82 (NIV) in its entirety.
1 God presides in the great assembly; he renders judgment among the “gods”: 2 “How long will you defend the unjust and show partiality to the wicked? 3 Defend the weak and the fatherless; uphold the cause of the poor and the oppressed. 4 Rescue the weak and the needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked. 5 “The ‘gods’ know nothing, they understand nothing. They walk about in darkness; all the foundations of the earth are shaken. 6 “I said, ‘You are “gods”; you are all sons of the Most High.’ 7 But you will die like mere mortals; you will fall like every other ruler.” 8 Rise up, O God, judge the earth, for all the nations are your inheritance.
Misinterpretation of Psalm 82
Yusef used Psalm 82:6 to justify the song title, but Christian leaders versed in Old Testament scripture argued that West took it out of context.
“He is way off base in terms of interpretation of that Psalm,” Dr. Terriel Byrd, president of the African American Caucus of the Academy of Homiletics of North America, told Wade-O Radio. “That Psalm is a plea for justice for the poor and the oppressed. His rap seems to indicate that he is the rich and famous—he is awesome, he is a god—whereas this Psalm seems to indicate that God will bring judgment against anyone who would mistreat the poor and oppress the needy.”
Byrd referred to the hook of “I Am a God,” where West delivered commands to hurry up with his massage, his ménage, his croissants and backing his Porsche out of the garage.
Adam Thomason, CEO of Collision Records and pastor of Damascus Road, further paralleled the song’s lyrics to scripture, saying that the false authority which West flaunted in “I Am a God” mirrors the injustice of the Israelite judges who God addressed in Psalm 82. He added that God gifted West and the judges with a powerful platform, but they utilized it for themselves rather than helping others.
“[The judges] wanted the luxury of the day,” Thomason told Wade-O Radio. “It wasn’t the Porsche, but they wanted the chariots.”