Music

Every Proper Noun on Kanye West’s Jesus Is King, Charted and Annotated

A statistical breakdown of all the lyrics on the new album.

Kanye West.
Photo illustration by Slate. Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images.

If the lyrics on Kanye West’s new album, Jesus Is King, became a word cloud, God, other names for God, and God’s son, Jesus, would all feature prominently, in big central text. But upon closer examination, the word cloud wouldn’t be entirely ecclesiastical, for Jesus Is King contains multitudes, and among those multitudes are Chick-fil-A and Barry Manilow, which are two other references on the album. Here’s a breakdown, with charts, of all the proper nouns on Jesus Is King, from the biblical to the Manilovian, annotated where appropriate.

Kanye West and a pie chart plotting religious versus secular references.
Photo illustration by Slate. Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images.

Religious

Old Testament

• Abraham: In the Bible, God calls on Abraham to found a new nation, and his descendants are the Jewish people, including, eventually, Jesus.
• Adam: The original man, from the Book of Genesis.
Book of Job: About a man who is tested.
Eve: The original woman, from the Book of Genesis.
Jezebel: The Bible character in the Book of Kings, not the website named after her.
Noah: The biblical prophet who builds an ark to survive the great flood, though people think he’s crazy for doing it.
Yeshua: A name for the Messiah in the Hebrew Bible.

Kanye West and a pie chart counting Old Testament versus New Testament references.
Photo illustration by Slate. Photo by Rich Fury/Getty Images for Coachella.

New Testament

• Christians
• Ephesians: The 10th book of the New Testament.
Jesus Christ
• John 8:33: In this Bible verse, the Jews respond to Jesus’ claim that the truth will set them free—the truth being that he is the son of God and acts to please God—by saying that they do not need freeing because they have never been slaves. Basically, the Jews questioned why they should believe Jesus.
John 8:36: In this Bible verse, Jesus answers the Jews’ question from John 8:33, explaining that only the son of God can free them from the slavery of sin.
• Judas: The ultimate backstabber. In the Bible, he betrays Jesus, which results in his crucifixion.
• Luke: As in “The Gospel According to …”

Both

• Father: As in God, the heavenly father.
God
Lord

Kanye West and a pie chart noting "Church" versus "State" references.
Photo illustration by Slate. Photo by Rich Fury/Getty Images for Coachella.

Secular

• 13th Amendment: The constitutional amendment that abolished slavery—except, crucially, as punishment for a crime.
• 350s: A type of sneaker in Kanye’s Yeezy line with Adidas.
Barry Manilow: The matinee idol.
• BET: Black Entertainment Television, the basic cable network.
• Bust’: Rapper Busta Rhymes.
Chick-fil-A: The fast food chain whose locations are closed on Sundays. The company says this is to ensure that its employees get at least a day off each week, but it’s also commonly understood as a nod to Christian values.
Clive: As in Davis, the influential record executive.
Dancing With the Stars: The reality competition show where famous people are paired with professional dancers and eliminated by audience vote.
Forbes: The business magazine that, for its August issue, put West on the cover.
The ’Gram: Instagram.
Grammys
• IRS: The government agency that collects taxes.
Keef: As in Chief Keef, the Chicago rapper.
• L.A. Reid: The legendary record executive and producer.
Mike: Michael Jordan, the basketball star. (Not Michael the archangel.)
Monday
• Pi’erre: Producer Pi’erre Bourne, who co-produced Jesus Is King tracks “On God” and “Use This Gospel.”
Sigel: Rapper Beanie Sigel? Trumpeter and Chance the Rapper collaborator Nico Segal? Your guess is as good as ours.
Sunday: A sacred day of rest, but also just a day.
Sunday Service: West’s series of gospel concerts.
Tribe: As in A Tribe Called Quest, the hip-hop group.
Tyler Perry: The successful actor, writer, producer, director, and entrepreneur behind the Madea films and more.
Vegas
• Visas: The credit card.
Wraith: The type of Rolls-Royce. MSRP: From $320,500.
Yandhi: Yandhi, a portmanteau of the rapper’s nickname “Ye” and “Gandhi,” was the name of an album that West planned to release in 2018 before scrapping it.

Previously: All the Proper Nouns on Lana Del Rey’s Norman F—ing Rockwell, Charted