Monday, August 08, 2011
Kanye West, Jay-Z Question God in Watch the Throne's Opening Track

Kanye West, Jay-Z Question God in Watch the Throne's Opening Track

The opening track to Watch the Throne, the highly-anticipated collaborative album from rappers Jay-Z and Kanye West, which was released online Monday, is already stirring debate among listeners for its weighty subject matter-the relevancy of religion.

By early afternoon Monday, the song "No Church in the Wild" had become a top trending topic on Twitter with one user already making a prediction: "No Church In The Wild is gonna raise a lot of questions. I can hear it now. Wow."

The lyrics to the first track on the "Watch the Throne" album is definitely a brow-raiser, as the song questions what role, if any, religion might play in the life of someone who has a hard time believing in anything.

The song features Kanye West, Jay-Z, the Dream, and Frank Ocean and its lyrics beg the question: what is the point of religion?

"What's a god to a non-believer who don't (sic) believe in anything," Frank Ocean asks in the opening verse.

Jay-Z follows up, taking the song to a point some might find offensive as he wonders if a "thug's prayers" reach God. The rapper leaves off with: "Jesus was a carpenter, Yeezy, laid beats; Hova flow the Holy Ghost, get the hell up out your seats..."

The controversial song is not the first for West, who co-wrote the track.

West first expressed religious leanings in 2005 with his popular music video "Jesus Walks," about the marginalized of society finding acceptance with God. The song won a Grammy for "Best Rap Song."

The rapper was also featured in 2006 on the cover of Roller Stone dressed in a toga with a crown of thorns on his head, imitating the crucifixion of Jesus Christ.

Has the rapper finally gone too far?

If a recent survey is any indication, West, 34, may simply be mirroring the mindset of his generation when it comes young people's views on the relevancy of religion.

In a 2010 survey involving 18 to 29-year-olds, the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life found that only 45 percent of adults under age 30 think religion is very important in their lives.

It is too early to tell how well the rappers' collaborative effort will do in sales, but reviews have been overwhelmingly positive among music critics.

Watch the Throne also features songs questioning black-on-black crime, discussions on overcoming personal struggles, dealing with fame, and other issues.

"No Church in the Wild" and a handful of other song titles have been trending on Twitter since the album's release at midnight on Apple iTunes store.

Watch the Throne is expected to be available in stores on August 12.


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