In Old Testament Biblical times people held the belief that the life of a person was in their blood and that was where the soul lived. To make themselves right with God, the Israelites shed the blood of animals, which acted as atonement for their sins. When Jesus died on the cross as the final atonement, He took upon Himself the sins of the world, reconciling all those who believe in his Father. This means His blood shed on the cross washes clean any person seeking purity of sin.
Wash us in the blood
Whole life bein' thugs
No choice, sellin' drugs
South side, what it does
Rain down on us
The message of the cross is for everybody; even those leading a "thug life" and drug dealers can be cleansed of their sin through Jesus' blood.
The song originated in trimmed down-instrumental form as part of West's Nebuchadnezzar opera, which he premiered at the Hollywood Bowl on November 24, 2019.
Travis Scott gets credited as a featured artist, though he just spits the odd line here and there. The pair have an extensive collaborative history dating back to Scott producing and writing for Kanye several of his 2012 Cruel Summer tracks.
West produced the track alongside Ronny J, FNZ, BoogzDaBeast and Dem Jointz. The production is reminiscent of the rapper's 2013 album, Yeezus, featuring hard drums and industrial beats.
Dr. Dre, whom Kanye has long cited as a major influence, mixed the track. Yeezy once told Rolling Stone that Dr. Dre's song "Xxplosive" was where he got his whole sound from.
Cinematographer and artist Arthur Jafa directed the visual. His seven-minute video essay Love Is the Message, The Message Is Death
incorporated West's track "Ultralight Beam
." Jafa has also worked on films including Spike Lee's Crooklyn
and as director of photography on various clips for Solange.