Kanye West’s most recent album “Donda,” devoted to his mom, tends to make the strongest case nevertheless that his genuine target is to turn out to be a Christian artist for the MAGA technology. It is worship new music for individuals who imagine that regardless of all their faults and failings, God owes them forgiveness. West himself obviously needs not only forgiveness, but also awareness. The concern is, does he have earned either?

West himself evidently needs not only forgiveness, but also awareness. The concern is, does he should have either?

West’s songs in the final handful of many years, with its ecstatic gospel choirs and introspective confessions of sin appears a good deal various from the normal praise brand. Neither modern Christian music nor gospel nor aspect of the Hillsong worship movement, it’s a new genre unto alone, a self-referential testimony spun into song for optimum spectacle and economic achieve. It is audio for folks who feel in God but also feel (or hope) that they may well be demigods. And even though critics have presented the album blended testimonials, I believe the new music requires again seat to West’s particular evolution from revolutionary artist to egocentric self-help expert desperately attempting to maintain on to his fame.

Prosperity gospel is not a new phenomenon in the Christian church. Evangelists these kinds of as Oral Roberts, Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker and Joel Osteen have all catered to their followers with the assure of health, wealth and God’s favor. And supplied West’s career arc, it’s not astonishing this type of evangelism would resonate. Capitalist at its core, prosperity gospel encourages you to thumb your nose at convention simply because regardless of what you do, God is heading to bless. Oh, and don’t fail to remember to drag your enemies, specially if they could possibly be much more preferred.

Equally, West’s gospel is eventually the gospel of hubris and prosperity. At his concert events in New York, Atlanta and Chicago, concessions have been so costly grievances went viral. In Chicago, he invited two pariahs to stand on phase with him: Marilyn Manson, who is accused of rape, and DaBaby, whose homophobic comments about HIV and AIDS this summertime prompted a storm of criticism and a collection of significantly less-than-satisfactory apologies. Both Manson and DaBaby are featured in one of the album’s music.

Flanked by these two, the infamously above-the-top West could have fancied himself Jesus on the cross, surrounded by the two burglars. But West is no Jesus, other than potentially, in his have brain. He also had his estranged spouse Kim Kardashian, surface at a “Donda” listening event in Chicago carrying a marriage ceremony dress. He even invited former President Donald Trump to look at.

Trump did not trouble to demonstrate up, which suggests a whole lot. Each males enjoy an adoring crowd.

And even though West’s album could nevertheless be called Christian worship music by some, I imagine it is much more aptly explained as an expression of his individual theology. That theology is, unfortunately, a jumbled mess.

The most genuine tracks on the album are these that touch on West’s mom and her premature demise. The album and arena exhibit is named after her, and committed to her, and he evidently is nonetheless processing his grief. But his true emotions, these types of as they are, are undermined by the in some cases petty and unexplainable contradictions of West’s existence. However in the center of a divorce proceedings, he provides his wife to the demonstrate, then admits he cheated on her in his song “Hurricane.” He proclaims the album is not accomplished, however releases it Aug. 29 to honor his mother’s birthday. (Meanwhile, West’s unwell-recommended beef with Drake proceeds to escalate. Drake’s album drops Sept. 3, with a fascinating marketing and advertising marketing campaign.)

As a spiritual scholar, I’m tempted to just generate off West at this level. “Jesus Walks” was groundbreaking at the time of its launch, and his “Sunday Service” gatherings (which incorporated offering $50 socks proclaiming “Jesus Walks”) ended up to begin with intriguing. But even though this early West was intricate, his songs was refined and even enjoyment. Now his tunes are laden with angst, a baffling religious vision. Honestly, it is tiring. Who wishes baffled prosperity hucksterism in this ongoing pandemic? Die-tough enthusiasts, I suppose.

If almost nothing else, West’s newest album highlights the cultural electrical power of evangelical thoughts in The united states. Several of the most cynical prosperity gospel proponents — and now West — preach an intensive concentration on one’s own partnership to God at the expenditure of some others an arrogance that you ought to have forgiveness with no genuinely in search of it and a self-referential piety that reeks of narcissism alternatively than fact.

In this way, “Donda” is an album effectively-suited to our existing instant. Each working day, we hear far more tales about the legions of Individuals who consider they know much more than medical doctors, who dose by themselves with quack cures, and who have disdain for direction. Kanye West may possibly no more time be as groundbreaking as he thinks he is, but he’s certainly a sign of our periods.