Released in August 2011, Watch the Throne is a collaborative effort by Jay-Z and Kanye West. Since its release, the album has gone platinum, selling over 1 million copies. To say that it has reached a wide, diverse audience is an understatement. You can hardly go to any public event without hearing a hit from the album blasting from the speakers overhead. The obvious theme of many of the songs? The “larger than life” personalities and lifestyles of Jay-Z and West. The album is critically acclaimed for its content and production. However, one song strikes a not-so-melodic chord with me. When I heard it, I couldn’t believe what I was hearing.
Human beings in a mob
What’s a mob to a king?
What’s a king to a God?
What’s a God to a non-believer who don’t believe in anything?
Will he make it out alive, alright, alright, no Church in the wild.-(The Hook) No Church in the Wild
While I understand the concept of free artistic expression, I assert my attendant right to address what I feel to be a blatant attack on my faith. Please understand, I don’t know if there is any covert Illuminati organization responsible for certain songs/media portrayals/etc…, but I do know when someone speaks against the Gospel I’ve dedicated my life to defending. So I have to speak my piece.
The song begins and posits several questions. They appear to be rhetorical. We already should know the answers to them. The mob means nothing to a king. The king is powerful. He has legions of soldiers at his disposal. He can intimidate the mob with his power and army. But even the king has to answer to divinity. In fact, the king’s rights (in most cultures) flow from the divine. But then the hook takes an interesting detour.
What’s a God to a non-believer–who don’t believe in anything? The resounding answer in this song: Nothing.
God doesn’t exist in the mind of a non-believer. This leaves that person to fend for himself. But there’s an accompanying, transparent concern whether he will make it out alive. The hook concludes with the assertion that there’s no church in the wild. This is nothing new for Jay-Z. He’d previously stated on Empire State of Mind that “Jesus can’t save you, life starts when the Church ends” (Yet Christians run around singing, “I’m from Neeew Yoooooork”). There’s an underlying renunciation of the Church present here. I don’t have time to go into all the lyrics, but there are a few that I’d like to point out.
Jesus was a carpenter, [Kanye], he lay beats
Hova flow the Holy Ghost, get the he$* up out your seats
Preach…-(Verse 1) No Church in the Wild
The vocational similarities of Jesus and Kanye West are obvious in Jay-Z’s mind. Even a metaphorical pairing of the two is, at best, tenuous. Jesus was perfect. The greatest, most humble Man to ever walk this planet. Oh yeah, and he was GOD! On the other hand, Kanye is imperfect. Humility doesn’t appear anywhere in his biography. Oh yeah, and as much as he wants to be in his own world, he aint God. But I’m not surprised.
This is the same man who claims he “made Jesus walk” and as a result is “never going to hell.”
Sorry Yeezy, but Jesus was walking and has been walking before you were thought of or conceived. He’s walked in the lives of faithful believers over the past 2000-plus years. But I digress. With the Jesus/Kanye comparison in place, Jay-Z proceeds to complete the Watch the Throne trinity. When he flows the “Holy Ghost” apparently falls and makes people get out of their seats. Amazing. His words (all the “b*$*thes, male chauvinism, materialism, and egocentricity) cause the “Holy Ghost” to fall.
A ghost might fall, but it sure aint holy.
Although they claim there’s no Church in the wild, these two men go to great lengths to establish their own religion. The presence of Kanye, Jay-Z, and the “Holy Ghost” make up the trinity of this new system of beliefs. What are their beliefs? I’m glad you asked.
We formed a new religion
No sin as long as there’s permission
And deception is the only felony
So never f*$# anyone without tellin’ me-(Verse 2) No Church in the Wild
There it is. West says it. Point blank. We formed a new religion. Forget about sin. As long as you have permission, you’re good to go. The only thing they ask? No need to be monogamous in a relationship. Open relationships are encouraged and welcome. Just make sure you tell the other party about your promiscuous exploits. Because you don’t want to be deceptive. Oh, the irony. There’s a real deception here.
The deception lies in the “it’s just music” attitude we have when it comes to stuff like this.
We point out how nice the beat is, but don’t understand that the lyrical content is settling in our spirits. These are things that have the potential to enter your heart. If we’re really sincere about our relationship with God, we’ll take His exhortation seriously: “Above all else, guard your heart with all diligence…” (Proverbs 4:23). I’m no conspiracy theorist. I don’t know who shot J.R. on Dallas. I don’t think the government was involved in the assassination of Lincoln, JFK, or King. But I do know deception when I see it. And I despise it.
Oh yeah, I’ve got news for Yeezy and Jay-Z. Next time you want to make a song about the Church make sure you do some research. The Church STARTED in the wild. Just ask John the Baptist (See Matthew 3:1-11). And faithful believers have been outside-of-the-box wild ever since. Let me conclude by answering your rhetorical question in the hook. What’s a God to a non-believer?
He’s still God.