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Jesus Walks

by

Kanye West



Songfacts®:  You can leave comments about the song at the bottom of the page.

This song talks about society, racism, and war with ourselves. It decries what rappers typically talk about, which is sex, drugs and money. (thanks, Justin - Springfield, MO)
Rapper Che Smith, who goes by the stage name Rhymefest, wrote this song with West. In the February 24, 2006 Guardian newspaper, he said: "Kanye and I grew up together. I found a gospel song by a choir of reformed drug addicts in New York. Even though I'm not a Christian it moved me and the beat was kinda like a rap groove. We jacked the whole song but it came to life when Kanye added the army sounds and made it like God's soldiers. Then the writing began. If you make the verses about Jesus it takes away the power of the chorus, so the verses were the sinner speaking. We got the 'Niggas' sound from a Curtis Mayfield song. When we write together we'll listen to a beat and I'll come up with a line and he'll flip it around into something else, then I'll add more lines and before you know it we got a song. Kanye will remember each way we flipped it; he has an ability to memorize. I look at it like this: that was not my record and not Kanye's record; that was a record from the creator to his creations. I'm grateful." (thanks, Edward Pearce - Ashford, Kent, England)
Kanye West knew the challenges of getting "Jesus" on secular radio; when songs in the past referred to Jesus, they had to say, "He" or "Him" (and somewhat recently "God" is being accepted) but never Jesus. In his second verse he challenged radio stations with the following lyrics: "So here go my single dawg radio needs this, They say you can rap about anything except for Jesus. That means guns, sex, lies, video tapes, but if I talk about God my record won't get played, Huh?" His strategy worked - not only did he get "Jesus" on the radio and on MTV, he also won 3 Grammy Awards in 2005 as a result. (thanks, Nikki - Chicago, IL)
This song meant so much to Kanye West that he made 3 music videos for it,using over one million dollars of his personal money. One video was for BET, one for MTV and one for MTV.com. (thanks, Nikki - Chicago, IL)
A breakdown of some of the lyrical references in this song:
"I walk through the valley where the shadow of death is" is taken from the 23rd psalm in the Bible ("Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me.")

"But I'll be gone till November" is a reference to 1997 song of the same name by Wyclef Jean.

"My feet don't fail me now" is a runner's slogan popularized by track and field star Bruce Jenner in the 1976 Olympics. Jenner wore the message on a sweat shirt and went on to win the Decathlon. The expression was originally the catchphrase of Birmingham Brown (played by Manton Moreland), the manservant of Charlie Chan in 1930s detectives movies. Like the character of Chan himself, Brown was a racial stereotype. He always uttered this phrase in exaggerated fear when preparing to run from danger. Eminem used the phrase in his song "Lose Yourself"

"Wanna see thee more clearly" is taken from "Day By Day," a song sung to Jesus in Godspell, the 1971 pop musical based on the Gospel of St. Matthew.

"The way Kathy Lee needed Regis" refers to Kathy Lee Gifford, an American TV personality whose career suffered when she left the show she hosted with Regis Philbin.

"Guns, sex, lies, videotape" is a reference to the 1989 cult film Sex Lies and Videotape directed by Steven Soderbergh. (thanks, Bertrand - Paris, France)
Kanye West
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Comments (12):

when you try to speak out you get swallowed and shyted out.Kanye started off with his head on his shoulder but the devil broke him down. A barrel in a cup full or only the love a mother can give her son. Dont get caught up in the good life
- Illuminati spam, Kentucky, KY
The last comment is stupid. Women play men and men play women in all races. Black men seem to need to berate the sister on a national level.
- Moni, Los Angeles, CA
hmmm For some reason i get the idea that this song is being discussed by a group of people who dont listen to rap... but i could be mistaken... however, allow me to retort: YES.. this tracc is about the typical sex drugs and money... to the average idiot who doesnt listen to it. see, the problem is that we are on opposite sides of the glass. you see rappers talking about b*tches and hoes and guns and drugs and gangs and believe that we are advocating or celebrating these things. we say these things because these "women" wil tell you they love you every day while s*ccin another d**k when you bacc is turned and may even set you up... i call that a b*tch and you would too. if you walk down my street and you dont have a gun, violence may occur and it WONT end in your favor. we simply understand the existance of these things and comment on them as dan rather does on the news. since you are too close minded, stereotypical and sheltered to understand this, you simply berate it as oppose to strive to understand.. this is typical of ignorance. At any rate, this is an OK song at BEST... its GREAT for what it accomplished but average in its actual lyrical content. but of course, it seems different, and positive, so "WE MUST SUPPORT POSITIVE RAP".. not realizing that this SAME song is anti-government.. saying negative things about white and blacc people alike and actually perpetuates more hate than good... but you hear "jesus walks" and say "YAY KANYE!".. Congrats! You all fit the statistic.
- Se7, Pomona, CA
Hey Nikki, your comment is great. I don't know what else to say about the song, other than he made an awesome song to be played on almost all stations and tv channels for all the world to hear. Kanye has such great words to all his songs. Much love to Kanye for the guts to write this and to have just made him stronger as a rapper and a person.
- nicole, n/a, WI
This might be my favorite song ever. West did something that other artist have never done. Alot of them say they believe in god, and that they thank him for what they have, but they never show it in their work. Great job Kanye!
- Jessica, Broken Arrow, OK
best hip-hop lyrics of this era maybe ever, kanye puts many great points into this song and it comes off briliantly. im a rock fan but Kanye west is a legend and deserves everything he gets.
- Tristan, Sydney, Australia
Chicago Rapper, "Rhymefest" co-wrote Jesus Walks, so he received a Grammy Award in 2005 for that. Rhymefest won a Grammy before his own album ever came out. Kanye West and Rhymefest worked together for Kanye West's sophomore CD, "Late Registration" but that song didn't make it to the CD. However, Kanye West and Rhymefest recorded a song called, "Brand New" that is on Rhymefest's CD entitled, "Blue Collar".
- Nikki, Chicago, IL
THE FIRST COMMENT IS F*&^ING AWESOME!!! bUT I GOT CHILLS THE FIRST TIME iHEARD

Then I hope it take away from MY sins
And bring the day that ?m dreamin about
Next time I'm in the club everybody screamin out
jesus walks
- teresa, benicia, CA
i think alot more rappers should rap about god rather than gangs,sex,drugs,etc.
- j, Norfolk, VA
i´m amazed he had the guts to stand up to his faith- even if it would have cost him. As controversial as he is- I think it is extremely cool that Kanye professes his love for Christ and doesn´t mind the criticism. Jesus really does walk with him! Jasmin
- Jazzz, Frankfurt, Germany
Nikki- I never thought about that line like that...it makes alot of sense tho
- Liz, S Windsor, CT
When Kanye West performed this song on 'Regis and Kelly' he didn't change the line, "The Way Kathy Lee needed Regis, that's the way I need Jesus", so when he finished performing, Regis said, "Did you say Kelly and Regis?", Kelly replied, "He didn't say Kelly", then Kanye West began to explain, "I said, 'The way Kathy Lee needed Regis, that's the way I need Jesus, because although Kathy Lee needed you, and she's gone, the show still goes on, and it's the same with me. I need Jesus, but even when I'm gone, His show is still going to go on."
- Nikki, Chicago, IL
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