Kanye West is on a mission. The rapper’s music has shifted in recent years, centering more towards faith-based and spiritual-leaning music. The transition from his critically acclaimed debut College Dropout has not been welcomed by many, both in and out of his fanbase. But from the “Jesus Is King” and the Sunday Service Choir’s “Jesus is Born” albums to his latest effort, DONDA, Kanye West has been doing his best to get the message of Jesus Christ out in his way.
Now Kanye West has another huge claim for his upcoming plans. During an interview with 032c, West shared that due to “capitalist rule” that is “killing us,” he plans to make some changes. The award-winning rapper boldly insists that he will be “homeless in a year.” The reason for his impending homelessness is that he intends to turn his homes into churches. “We’re making this orphanage, and it will be a place where anyone can go,” the rapper revealed. He went on to elaborate that they should operate like “artist communes” where “food should always be available.”
Kanye’s statement would genuinely be a historic move as he would easily be in conversations as one of the firsts to do so. In history, pastors have been widely criticized for their misleading proclamations of their churches being a place where “all are welcomed” despite actions that speak otherwise.
At times, pastors have also faced criticism for not allowing churches to be safe for folks who are either less fortunate or seek refuge during catastrophes. If you recall, in 2017, when Hurricane Harvey brought destruction and widespread displacement for Houstonians, pastor of the Lakewood Chuch Joel Osteen came under fire for not opening his doors for those seeking refuge. Initially, Osteen claimed that they could not house displaced Houstonians in the megachurch due to “severe flooding.” But social media users became privy to videos showing the opposite, which seemingly forced Osteen’s hand to open their facilities.
Although Kanye West has become seemingly more radical in his Christianity, it did not just materialize out of nowhere. When College Dropout was released in February of 2004, fans were thrilled with various themes of family and world views, or rather from the world outside of Kanye’s window. Many of these would include pieces involving the Black communities and racism, wealth, and of course, a dose of arrogance. In addition, the album housed singles like “All Falls Down” and “Through The Wire,” with both hitting within the top twenty on Billboard’s Hot 100. Also incorporated on the album was the bold, religious-themed record, “Jesus Walks.”
“Jesus Walks,” the fourth single from West’s debut album, has been helmed as one of his fanbase’s favorites. The critically acclaimed single was awarded the Grammy for Best Rap Song and a Song of The Year nomination. It would also place on multiple end-of-year and “greatest of all time” song lists. In addition, the single went on to be certified double platinum by the RIAA.
In 2014, frequent collaborator and co-writer Rhymefest spoke with HipHopDX about their experience creating that “special” record. Rhymefest, who is also a native of Chicago, expressed his belief that Kanye would not be “viewed” the same or “had as many chances with the public” had it not been for “Jesus Walks.” Calling the song a “critical piece of the puzzle,” the rapper added that the song “touched people in a place where Rap music rarely touches people these days, and that’s the heart.”
Kanye West seemed to shift after years of toying with Christian-themed lyrics infused into its secular-housed albums. The rapper formed the Sunday Service Choir in 2019, sometimes known as “The Samples.” Thus, the weekly Sunday Services began. And while many fans joined in praises along with Kanye West and his choir, many were just as skeptical.
Some attributed his new foray into Christian music as a means to deflect from a lot of the bad press surrounding his many rants and the infamous support of the MAGA campaign. Others felt as though West had been spiraling due to the loss of his mother in 2007 from a failed cosmetic procedure. And some reminded the public of Kanye’s declaration on his Yeezus album with the song “I am a god,” which some deemed blasphemous.
Nevertheless, Kanye West has pushed forward in the Gospel realm, eventually becoming nominated for, and winning, numerous awards in Christian/Gospel categories. In his 2019 interview with Zane Lowe’s Beats1 Apple Music show, he expounds on his service to God and proclaims that all he does is now in the name of Jesus. “Everything I do, even designing a shoe, is for the Church,” the rapper said. He added that his “only mission and calling is to spread the gospel.” And according to Kanye’s latest announcement of turning his homes into churches, it looks like his mission is far from over.