Kanye West's academic mom, Dr. Donda West, raised him alone after her marriage broke up. Mother and son were close and Kanye was heartbroken when she unexpectedly died, aged 58, in late November 2007. Here, during a lengthy verse, he raps about the pain he's felt since losing his mother.
Did He tell you that you good and just stay focused?
Mama, you was the life of the party
I swear you brought life to the party
When you lost your life, it took the life out the party
And his mental health issues.
You want dreams to come true? But I have nightmares
'Cause if that come to life, then I might not be right here
Been in the dark so long, don't know if the light here
Kanye West recorded the song for Donda, named in honor of his late mother. The album focuses primarily on West's beliefs as a Christian; he sprinkles the words "Jesus" and "Lord" throughout this song. By doing this, he shows that despite of all his dark thoughts, God is still watching over him.
Kanye hands the baton to Jay Electronica, who starts his verse by rapping:
Uh-huh, in the name of the true and living God, the beneficent, the merciful
Thank you for bringing me up the rough side of the mountain like Ertugrul
The New Orleans rapper is a practicing Muslim; "The Beneficent" and "The Merciful" are two of the 99 names of Allah.
Jay Electronica previously linked up with a Christian rapper when he contributed a verse giving praise to Christ on Chance The Rapper's "How Great
" (Jesus is revered as a prophet in Islam).
The nine-minute marathon ends with a recorded message from Larry Hoover Jr., who thanks Kanye for trying to free his incarcerated father and talks about the impact of his imprisonment on his family.
The founder of the street gang Gangster Disciples, Larry Hoover Sr. has been jailed since 1973 at the ADX Florence Prison in Colorado. West pleaded for clemency for his fellow Chicagoan during an October 2018 luncheon with President Donald Trump.
West co-produced the song with rapper/producer Swiss Beatz. Yeezy's longtime partner in crime, Mike Dean, and French musician Gesaffelstein also helped with the production.
The first 16 lines of Kanye's verse are an interpolation of underground Chicago native Rooga's "Angel Or Demon" track. Rooga worked extensively with Kanye during the recording process of Donda
, contributing a guest verse for "Ok Ok
Donda concludes with a remixed version of this song. "Jesus Lord, Pt. 2" includes three extra verses after Jay Electronica's part, each rapped by a member of the New York trio The LOX.