“Keep My Spirit Alive” by Kanye West (ft. Conway the Machine, Westside Gunn and KayCyy”
The title of this song (“Keep My Spirit Alive”), as presented in the chorus, is intended to point to the idea of the spirit being more important than the physical. In other words, even if the vocalist, in this particular segment KayCyy, were to lose everything he owns, he knows that his “spirit won’t die”.
Or more simply put, he understands that being devoid of physical possessions doesn’t mean the end of the world. But more to the point, within the context of this entire piece, is the idea of God holding him down through hardship.
And so it is when Westside Gunn enters the equation. Being a Griselda artist and all, well, we already know what Westside is about. So whereas his verse is also based on God being there in tough times alright, in his case said tough times would be akin to, say being raided by law enforcement or getting locked up. So basically, his passage centers on thanking a Higher Power for not losing in the game like some others, such as one his homeys who by looks of things is currently doing a lengthy bid.
Conway the Machine
His brother and fellow Griselda Records’ artist, Conway the Machine, takes a similar approach. For instance he harps back to 2012 when he was shot in the head. However, the Machine is not focusing on the permanent damage he suffered as a result but rather how he feels his mother’s prayers, and God actually answering those prayers, saved his life. Or viewing his disposition from a different angle, Conway has faith in God because he has actually been in a situation where he feels his life was saved via divine intervention.
Meanwhile, whereas this entire piece may have been Kanye’s idea, the first half of his verse really doesn’t deal with spiritual matters. Instead the main vocalist starts off, perhaps in indirect acknowledgement of the nature of his costars, by seemingly pointing to the idea of society encouraging young men, including himself, to adopt a thug mentality.
He then proceeds to give a couple of shoutouts to his late mom, whom the album this song is derived from is dedicated to. Then Yeezus jumps on the main topic at hand, which is trusting in God. And as put forth, if one were to do so fully then they will be ‘reimbursed by Jesus’.
Or let’s say that the thesis sentiment of this entire piece is that God looks out for those who believe in Him. And Kanye closes out the verse, amongst other musings, by alluding to being in a relationship with a woman who tries to control him, you know, despite the fact that he’s in his 40s.
The Conclusion of “Keep My Spirit Alive”
So this is an interesting song, to say the least. Kanye has enlisted a couple of straight-up thug rappers to drop raps based on the idea as detailed above. Indeed it would be safe to say that Yeezus is perhaps the only figure in the entire music industry, if not the whole world, who could convince the likes of Conway the Machine and Westside Gunn to participate on a piece like this.
Release of “Keep My Spirit Alive”
Kanye and his collaborators officially released “Keep My Spirit Alive” on August 29th, 2021. The song can be found on Kanye’s hit 2021 studio album which goes by the title “Donda”.
There are approximately 27 songs on Donda’s track listing. “Keep My Spirit Alive” is track number 16 on the list. It never came out as a single. Actually only one song (“Hurricane“) was officially tagged as a single as of the album’s release date.
The Writers and Producers
Kanye composed “Keep My Spirit Alive” in collaboration with the three featured artists and several others.
West also participated in the song’s production, accomplishing the said task with: