Popular rapper and music producer Kanye West declared himself a formidable servant of Jesus Sunday as he called America back to God, teased big plans to evangelize the youth through new music and warned agents of the devil that “no weapon formed against me shall prosper.”
“Every time I stand up, I feel that I’m standing up and drawing a line in the sand and saying, ‘I’m here in service to God and no weapon formed against me shall prosper,’” West said in a wide-ranging discussion with Pastor Joel Osteen of Lakewood Church in Houston, Texas, before an audience of 17,000, at the church’s 11 a.m. service.
West, who revealed that his mother and father raised him in church and taught him the fear of God, said he now wants to do the same for his children he shares with wife, Kim Kardashian West.
“As I now have a family. I’m 42 years old, married for five years, there is a latent responsibility for me to become more like my mother, who’s gone to Heaven, and more like my father, who’s working and building a water purification system in the DR. You know with rappers there’s so many things that we’ve done to maintain the idea of coolness. You know we have our own daughters and we’d still be rapping about trying to hook up with somebody daughter,” West said.
He explained that he is no longer blinded by the grip fame once had on him.
“A lot of times when you are in service to fame, money, manpower, you start to feel like Satan is the most powerful. And you start to feel like if you service God that in life it means you will not prosper. And the only way to prosper is in service to fame. You know it’s like the devil stole all the good producers, the devil stole all the good musicians, all the good artists, all the good designers, all the good business people and said you got to come over and work for me. And now the trend, the shift is going to change.
“Jesus has won the victory. Because now, now I told you about my arrogance and cockiness already, now the greatest artist that God has ever created is now working for Him,” he said with a grin.
Looking back at West’s life in the secular music industry which glorifies anything but the fear of God, Osteen asked the rapper if he had any words of advice he could share with his younger self that could have helped him change the trajectory of his life.
While noting that there is nothing he could say that could reach his younger self, West explained that he believes music could and said he was working on new music to evangelize the younger generation.
“It’s nothing I could say to the younger Kanye through words. I could speak to the younger Kanye through music … so this music gon’ come every month. We dropping that heat. We in the studio. God is strengthening our hands. We have writers, we have producers, we’re taking all the most fire producers and bringing them back to God. All the best voices, all the best dancers for us to see that it’s through Christ,” West said.
The rapper, 42, who previously revealed that liposuction, a growing addiction to painkillers and wife Kim Kardashian’s robbery factored into a mental breakdown in 2016, told Osteen that he began feeling God’s call on his life around that time.
“I know that God has been calling me for a long time. The devil’s been distracting me for a long time. When I was in my lowest point, God was there with me and sent me visions and inspiring me. I remember sitting in the hospital at UCLA after having a mental breakdown. There’s documentations of me drawing a church. ... Even after that I made, went and made the Life of Pablo album. I said this is a gospel album,” he said.
“I didn’t know how to totally make a gospel album and Christians that were around were too, I would say, beaten into submission by society and not speak up and profess the Gospel to me because I was a superstar. But the only superstar is Jesus."
West launched his popular Sunday Service events, which generally include prayer and live music, in January 2019. At the time, his wife said her family was on a path to spiritual enlightenment.
The journey has since led to West's recently released first faith-based album, Jesus Is King, which has gone on to make history on Billboard's Hot Christian Songs and Hot Gospel Songs charts. The set opened at No. 1 on both the Top Christian Albums and Top Gospel Albums tallies (dated Nov. 9) with 264,000 equivalent album units earned in its first week (ending Oct. 31), according to Nielsen Music.
On Sunday, he pointed out how important it is to counter the influence of media on young children and explained how he is trying to do that through his music.
“That’s why I say ‘Closed on Sunday’ is the hardest record ever made. It’s hard as the NWA record because it’s talking about protecting your kids from the indoctrination of the media. Thousands and thousands of images that are fed to children by the age of six or seven. And within those images, there are images mixed in that as parents we don’t know about, purposely mixed in to lower the kid’s superpower and esteem so that they can be more susceptible to consumption and feel that they need to consume and become part of the robotic numeric system that controls so much of the media,” West said.
West, who recently performed with his choir for an installment of his Jesus Is King “Sunday Service” concert in Texas jails, was praised by the state’s Republican Gov. Greg Abbott, who encouraged other artists to follow his lead.
“What @kanyewest does to inspire the incarcerated is transformative. Saving one soul at a time. Inmates who turn to God may get released earlier b/c of good behavior & may be less likely to commit future crimes. It would be great if other artists followed Kanye’s lead,” Abbott noted on Twitter.
West alluded to the experience of ministering in Texas’ jails and called on America to set itself as an example of a Christian nation.
“Following the Bible can free us all. It’s an interesting thing, when we were at the prison professing how Jesus can set you free and it’s true. The more and more this entire country follows Christ and sets the example that we are a Christian country. They are attempting to take prayer out of schools. When you remove the fear and love of God you create the fear and love of everything else,” he said to applause.
“Reinstate the fear and love of God and eliminate everything else,” he said, noting that he got that wording from Osteen.
“There’s a lot of people in the Christian community that try to give Joel a hard time because when you turn on the radio he keeps on showing you how good God is.
“God is not the enemy. God is not the negative part. God is not just the perception of fire and brimstone. God is love … God is family. God is friendship. God is prosperity. Keep your eye on the sparrow. Keep your eye on the beauty and love and grace of God that allows us to be here today with all of our sins,” West further noted.
“When you’ve got Kanye defending you, you’ve made it man,” Osteen quipped in response.