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Sunday, June 23, 2013

Ghetto Gospel: Rappers and their Jesus Complex

Rappers seemed to have adopted a Jesus complex.  Kanye revealed initial artwork for his album "Yeezus" which is him nailed to a cross with red sneakers. Last year The Game released his album Jesus Piece with album cover of stained glass mural of Jesus wearing a red bandana. Years ago Nas' video for Hate Me Now showed him depicting hisself as Jesus by carrying a cross reenacting the crucifixion and a few yrs later dropped his album "God's Son", which unofficially became a moniker attached to him throughout his career.
Im prob not the most perfect person to be criticizing their actions but i just have to know what are these guys' fascination with Jesus? Its not the fascinaton like Kirk Franklin or any other gospel singer but they are actually painting themselves as Christ or using His image. Its a plethora of things that runs through my mind when looking at these pictures.
In this present time I think many ppl are getting away frm religion because of the bad rap it has kinda gotten this millenium. It mightve started with 9/11 when everyone assumed all muslims were terrorists. The catholic priest scandals have not helped at all. And recently Christianity has taken a hit with prolly jus about everything frm gay marriage activists to Tim Tebow critics.
I chose these 3 rappers because of their mass appeal but within their mass appeal has to be various religous groups so why Jesus? Why not Buddha or Allah or any other religous deity? Perhaps being black males in America they were raised upon Christianity beliefs and may not have had access at learning or knowing about an alternate religion. Not saying they were so poor they couldnt but maybe there were no nation of islam ppl around to garner any interest or any people of the Buddha faith to do the same.
Now I mention the term Jesus Complex because it complexes me why these rappers would put themselves in that epiphany-like position. Prob the same knowledge was used when rappers name themselves after italian gangsters (beanie sigel, 100 rappers named capone or gotti). Most notably and ironically for Nas and Kanye they are not depicting themselves as the Jesus who performed miracles and did good deeds but rather the one who was crucified for his beliefs. In my personal opinion, I think rappers get blamed for a lot: crime, sex, and pretty much the decline in society's values. But to take it to the point of being crucified seems just a bit too embellishing. Even for Kanye. I'm a big fan of his music and I think a lot of ppl unfairly criticize him for his non music actions. But strangely his music is about some of those actions.
So to close out you have to wonder when does art become offensive and when is art just art? And what would be the difference between Kanye on a crucifix when 2pac did it for the Makaveli album? Before writing this post I wasnt too thrilled with Kanye's album at all because of the artwork but now I'm thinking maybe its just an artistic choice. Maybe these guys are not trying to deliver the message they are Christ but as mentioned earlier the criticism they face daily to them could feel as dense as someone who is being crucified. But treally it all comes down to what you believe in and who you believe in.