“Jonah” by Kanye West
“Jonah” is the least religious actual song we’ve come across thus far on the playlist of Donda. Yes, Kanye does give a shoutout to the “Holy Father” in the third verse. And there is also the mention of “demons” in the chorus. But in the latter case, the way the term “demons” is utilized is in a way that has become ubiquitous in Western music, i.e. resorting to one’s inner weaknesses, if you will.
Verily, the chorus definitely has what can be deemed a religious undertone. In other words, the unidentified supporter of the vocalist in his times of “need” can arguably be of a spiritual origin.
Then as far as the first verse, which Vory also renders, there’s only a single spiritual reference contained therein, i.e. a roundabout acknowledgment of the “fallen soldiers” the vocalist has known throughout life and his concern for them even after becoming spirits themselves.
And with that, this passage in its entirety reads as what we will classify as a ‘hood verse – a common device in hip-hop whereas someone from the ghetto, as has this vocalist apparently, recounts the associated disadvantages of growing up in such an environment.
However, he is able to celebrate having “found the better way”, i.e. a profession, that being music, whereas he can make a sizable living.
Meanwhile, Lil Durk sets off his verse by harping on a topic that we knew was going to pop up in one of his rap soon, that being the murder of his older brother, OTF Dthang, just a couple of months before this track was released.
In fact the last time Dthang was referenced on this blog was that very month (June 2021) on the track Voice of Heroes, whereas Durk was showing him mad love. So just a week after that song dropped, Dthang was murdered.
Therefore we know this isn’t a case of a celebrity, excuse us to say, capitalizing on the death of a loved one for his own selfish purposes. Rather the entire world knows that Dthang was someone Durk truly cared about.
So when The Voice goes about proclaiming that his “biggest fear” was what actually went on to transpire, such is made more believable given all of the evidence. But that said, he has now gone about keeping Dthang’s legacy alive by caring for his children.
The first half of Kanye’s verse seems to flow along a similar vein, i.e. him potentially addressing the overall topic of street violence, though it’s not ultra-clear what he’s actually saying. Then the second half of the passage reads as if it is set more in the world business than the streets.
But it still maintains that same kinda tone, i.e. Yeezus apparently speaking to someone(s) he has some type of a tiff with. Indeed considering the precision, if you will, of his lyrics, it’s very much possible that they are based on a specific situation(s) with real-life people, perhaps even fellow celebrities, though such is not actually specified.
Song’s Title (“Jonah”)
Meanwhile, going back to the topic of religion, of course the title of this song is a Biblical reference in and of itself. Jonah was someone who, according to Old Testament lore, survived three whole days inside of a whale – a phenomenon of which we recently had confirmation is at least theoretically possible.
But once again, as we’ve been compelled to point out plenty as of late, when it comes to the likes of religious references, especially when you’re talking about characters from the Good Book, then by default a wide range of interpretations become available.
The Bible is the most-published book in history, and accordingly innumerable scholars and what have you have analyzed it throughout the centuries.
So it’s not abundantly clear why Yeezus decided to name the track so, though it may be just to give a shoutout to said character in general. In fact with that in mind, it should be noted that two of the recurring themes we’ve thus far come across in Donda are those of resiliency and faith in the face of adversity which, according to the story, Jonah possessed both.
Key Artist(s): Kanye West
Featured Artist(s): Baby Keem and Travis Scott
Was “Jonah” a single release?
No. On 29th of August, it was released as part of Kanye’s hit “Donda” album.
Writing and Production
The song was written by Kanye West with assistance from the following:
- Mike Dean
- TT Audi
- Lil Durk
“Jonah” was produced by West, Wheezy, DRTWRK, Audi and Dean.
- Hip hop