Home activism Ye: From Broken Idol to Christian Nationalist to Walking Contradiction

Ye: From Broken Idol to Christian Nationalist to Walking Contradiction

Ye, formerly known as Kanye West, used to be a darling of the liberal media. He was an idol to them, with all that the term implies. He was hailed as an artistic genius because of his songs as well as even being the most influential hip-hop artist alive…

That was… until he became “controversial.”

It all began in 2009, when he stormed the stage during an award ceremony and, in basic terms, exclaimed that pop-singer Taylor Swift was undeserving of the accolade she was being awarded. He felt⁠—and made his feelings very clear⁠—that fellow pop-singer Beyoncé was more deserving of the award.

But this wasn’t enough to break him (still known as Kanye West at the time) as the reception of his 2010-album, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, demonstrates quite well. It had been praised and appreciated by both the masses and the critics. The latter even went as far as deeming it to be his best work to date and perhaps also the most brilliant hip-hop album of the last few years.

Something that did significantly impact his public image though, later on, was his association with Donald Trump.

As this article highlights, Ye was always an admirer of Trump, even prior to him becoming the president. But in 2016, going beyond just Trump the businessman, he started to endorse Trump the politician. This antagonized the mass-media along with many of his own fans.

This escalated when he casually wore the MAGA (Make America Great Again) hat, and it got even worse when he began to lambast the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement. All of this was perceived as mere gimmicks to try and pander to his newly-found “White nationalist” ideology.

What eventually brought about the “cancellation” of Ye were some comments several months ago, where he made claims about Jewish power and overrepresentation within media and politics.

He apparently lost around $2 billion in net worth after fashion brands such as Adidas and other business partners decided it was time to dump him for these claims.

It seems that, for all the puffery surrounding the American Constitution’s First Amendment which has been used to spread all manner of demonization against Muslims in order to incite all-out war against Muslim countries like Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Palestine, etc., in the lead up to brutal military invasions from the US and the EU, other ethnic, religious, and interest groups enjoy an exemption from even far milder criticism than what Muslims have had to endure for decades.

As Ye recently announced his desire to run for the office of US president in 2024 and seeing as he proclaims an explicitly Christian ideology, let’s take a closer look at whether or not Christianity truly matters for Ye and if it even matters to other American Christian politicians for that matter.

RELATED: A Muslim’s Thoughts on Kanye West Responding to Woke Outrage

Ye: The Genius Becomes Jinnus

The individual that was once known as Kanye West was widely celebrated as some sort of hip-hop genius. He had dethroned his former mentor and now rival, Jay-Z. Besides this, he was perhaps even the most influential American musician the world has seen since Michael Jackson.

What was the cause of fascination for many regarding Ye was his production: an imaginative combination of samplings; rescuing old genres such as disco and funk; re-introducing the synthesizer, which defined the ’80s music; and even delving into creative territories which were then unknown to the hip-hop masses, through his inspiration from indie rock.

Add to this the lyrics which deviated immensely from those of the “gangsta rap” which symbolized ’90s hip-hop. Ye was more introspective, constantly writing about his personal demons and struggles. They were philosophical even.

In fact, Ye was considered to have definitively buried gangsta rap when his 2007-album Graduation triumphed over the latest album at the time by 50 Cent (Curtis Jackson), the then poster-boy of gangsta rap.

Ye had made gangsta rap insignificant⁠, and through his productions and his lyrics⁠⁠—like those found within his Graduation album’s song, Everything I Am—he opened up the doors for 2010s hip-hop artists such as Drake and The Weeknd, who could not have flourished without the environment brought about by Ye.

All of this is without even having delved into his talent in other fields, such as the way he professionalized album artwork, how innovatively he handled tours and live performances and the fact that each album seems to differ fundamentally from the album that preceded it, as if it arose from an entirely new musical universe.

His hip-hop creativity is further attested to by the fact that six of his eleven studio albums feature in the influential Rolling Stones’ 2020-list of “The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time,” with Ye being the third solo artist after Neil Young and Bob Dylan, rock musicians with seven and eight respectively though being many decades older than Ye.

Ideally, from a purely artistic perspective, if you were to try and think of any hip-hop artist that could be “uncancellable,” Ye would be the one that comes to mind.

When it comes to the issue of religion, this always held a special place in Ye’s productions. This can be seen even in his very first album, The College Dropout (2004), particularly through his song, Jesus Walks, wherein he highlights the hip-hop industry’s ambiguity in relation to religion:

We at war
We at war with terrorism, racism
But most of all we at war with ourselves

They say you can rap about anything except for Jesus
That means guns, sex, lies, videotape
But if I talk about God my record won’t get played, huh?

Yet, despite the references to religion, his stand against materialism, consumerism and celebrity-worship, Ye himself is someone who has remained quite ambiguous.

Many of his songs (including a few within this very same album) actually contain a great deal of what he himself criticizes with regard to cultural liberalism, notably the blatant sexualization of women. This of course includes the use of barely-clothed models in music videos (the technical term is “video vixens”).

It was thus quite fitting that, over the years, Ye began to declare himself as being some sort of deity, the clearest expression of which is found in the song, I Am a God (with “God” being a featured performer), from his 2013-album Yeezus (itself an obvious reference to Jesus).

Such a high-profile artist⁠—perhaps even the most influential artist in the world⁠—being nonchalantly blasphemous would please the similarly impious liberal world. For this reason, Ye was on a high, not only in the music industry but also in the fashion industry. He launched his famous Yeezy brand in collaboration with Adidas, with the sneakers in particular being a huge hit.

Ye would go on to become the first non-athlete to have collaborated with fashion brands (besides Adidas there were also Gap and Balenciaga) on such a scale, and thus Ye became hip-hop’s first billionaire (Jay-Z’s billionaire status at the time was due to the combined net worth of him and his wife, Beyoncé).

But 2016 in particular was a landmark for Ye. This was because he not only released the album, The Life of Pablo, with its promotional tour coinciding with when he began to openly endorse Trump’s politics, but he was also diagnosed with suffering from bipolar disorder. He was even taken into psychiatric care and put on medication, which Ye retrospectively considers to have been involuntary institutionalization by “handlers.”

Ye was now vulnerable on two different fronts, both as a supporter of Trump and also as a potential madman.

So when he released his album Ye in 2018, with its artwork containing the sentence, “I hate being Bi-Polar its awesome” and beginning with a subtly suicidal song, I Thought About Killing You, it was lambasted by critics.

Ye was no longer a genius. He had now become a jinn.

He was someone who had “blasphemed,” both against the liberal world and also against his race (by allying with Trump, the “White nationalist”), and thus he was seen as having transformed into some sort of otherworldly creature, one that needed to be exorcised, even if by force.

RELATED: The Mantra of Critical Race Theory in the Shadows of Victimhood

Ye then retreated further into his Christian persona. He released the album, Jesus is King, in 2019. This album mixes Christian hip-hop with the traditional gospel genre. His subsequent albums, Donda and Donda 2 (both named after his late mother, who he believes to have been sacrificed by Hollywood elites), which too were received negatively by music critics, were also infused with openly Christian themes.

We’re not really skeptical about his Christian faith, as Ye seems to have embodied this from the beginning of his music career. It at least doesn’t seem to be some sort of façade being employed in order to co-opt a new audience, after having been exiled by the liberal world order.

But we can certainly question his attempt towards trying to espouse Christianity within the hip-hop industry in particular, as well as within the music industry in general.

Music appeals to the most base human desires and appetites of the ego. It is thus naturally at odds with religion, which is grounded in submission towards the Creator⁠—even though there’s evidently confusion on the subject in the particular case of Christianity.

RELATED: Music and the Devil in the West: What Does Islam Say?

But if it seems difficult to harmonize Christianity with music, what about modifying Christianity in relation to politics, especially in the US?

Is There Space for Christian Nationalism in the US?

The theorization of “Muslim nationalism” isn’t a particularly contentious one. After all, an “Islamist,” whatever the land he resides in, ideally proclaims his allegiance to the Ummah above and over his modern-nation state or ethnicity, and a country such as Pakistan is supposedly the geographical outcome of Muslim nationalism.

RELATED: The 1947 India-Pakistan Partition: Good or Bad?

But what exactly is “Christian nationalism”?

Intuitively we would assume that a Christian nationalist would be someone who puts the interests of Christianity above any and all other interests, even that of his own country.

But if we are to go by such a definition, then the West⁠—which has been subjected to liberal-modernist social engineering for two centuries now⁠—barely has any genuine Christian nationalist movement, party, or individuals.

The closest thing we have is perhaps Corneliu Zelea Codreanu’s Iron Guard, which was active during pre-WWII Romania, but such rare incarnations remain within the fascist ideological family. What about democratic politics?

This would seem to be paradoxical. Within a modern nation-state that is centered around democratism, the ideal is that citizens work for the sake of their nation-state before their religion. And because they believe in democracy, they need to be populist enough to gather all the potential votes. This of course includes those who do not want Christian nationalism. Thus there would have to be compromises.

In the specific case of the US, Republicans are regularly accused of being Christian nationalists. Yet US conservatism in general is basically just a somewhat delayed form of liberalism⁠—they espouse a fundamentally liberal worldview (individualist anthropology, economics as the general explanation of society, etc.), but ironically they complain about the natural outcomes of societal liberalism.

RELATED: Muslims Should Never Be Conservatives: A Lesson from Transgenderism

There’s just no way to be a coherent Christian nationalist evolving within the US democratic system. In fact, the best example of this is that of Donald Trump.

Trump doesn’t strike us as being particularly Christian. This is not because he was the skewed businessman that seemed to be taken out of some Ayn Rand novel due to his expressive individualism but because, aside from his support for Israel, Christianity seems to come after his commitment to American nationalism.

This is something Ye seems to have noticed as well since, in a recent video, he openly invited Trump to put God before America (and also before Israel).

We could in fact argue that the only real reason Trump is perceived as a Christian nationalist is that their very definition of Christian nationalism is extremely liberal (no pun intended). What is that definition? Basically, a Christian nationalist in the US is pretty much anyone that considers the US to be a Christian nation.

There’s nothing more to it than that. There’s nothing regarding Christian social policies, implementing Christian laws (for instance, within the family or penal codes), or theocracy, etc.

We’re quite a way off from the “reconstructionism” of a few radical US-Calvinist figures such as R. J. Rushdoony, who did aim for the organic Christianization of society. Nope, all you have to do here is say that you favor a “Christian nation,” without even having the need to define such nebulous terminology (leftist-Christians, for example, probably have their own idealized notion of what constitutes a “Christian nation”).

We read from the Washington Post, in an article released a few weeks back:

So what is Christian nationalism? It’s an ideology that says Christianity is the foundation of the United States and that government should protect that foundation. Political scientist Ryan Burge has found that the term “Christian nationalism” was mentioned in more tweets in July 2022 than in all of 2021.

[…]

We did find that agreement grew slightly from 2007 to 2017 from 27 percent to 29 percent, as other scholars have found as well. But since then, the proportion of Americans who affirm this explicit Christian nationalist statement has mostly declined to somewhere around 19 percent, a statistically significant drop.

So will Ye be a true Christian nationalist, since he aims to be, considering his comments about Trump (who recently more or less publicly dissociated from Ye) putting America and Israel before God?

Will Ye ask (or even encourage) American women to dress more like modest Christian women? Will he embrace and push for traditional Christian gender roles? Will he enact traditional Christian punishments for a specific set of sins? Will he advocate theocratic rule?

Will he foster an environment within media, culture, and education that will lead towards incarnating Christian values? In other words, will he go ballistic against Hollywood and his own hip-hop industry?

It’s Ye-t to be seen.

My personal belief of course is that only a complete and total conversion to Islam would offer the possibility for any such prospect.

RELATED: Islam Is the Solution America Needs

Within Western modernity, Christianity has been neutralized as a mere societal force.

This is because Christianity prefers to dress idols instead of breaking them, something Ye, as both a fashion designer and a broken idol, should contemplate upon. We invite him to look more seriously into Islam as the only feasible option.

Follow Bheria on Twitter: @Bheria

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Maaz Ahmad Khan

May Allah guide Ye to Islam