“Praise God” by Kanye West (ft. Baby Keem and Travis Scott)
From the onset, Kanye West’s “Praise God” starts of pretty deep, quoting an excerpt from a Gwendolyn Brooks (1917-2000) poem as recited by Kanye’s late mom, Professor Donda West (1949-2007).
And said excerpt, as alluded, is quite profound, whereas the vocalist is apparently exerting that no one, even those who are not prepared, can hide from “the day”. Well put into Yeezus context, as well as likely originally intended by Brooks, said “day” would be a metaphor pointing to the concept of light, as symbolically used in a religious/moral manner.
Or getting right down to the nitty-gritty, the reason Kanye West likely included that sample is not only as a shoutout to his mom but also to imply that eventually, God is someone whom we must all contend with.
And such an idea can be considered a lead up to the chorus, whereas Yeezus is flatout, as noted in the title, ‘praising God’. More specifically, the supporting sentiment of the passage reads a lot like Hurricane, another song from Donda, whereas the Most High is being recognized as someone who gives a second chance to those that called upon His name in an effort to save themselves from “the graveyard”, i.e. a life of sin that doesn’t end well.
Meanwhile, West doesn’t actually serve as lead vocalist of any of the verses. Instead it is Kendrick Lamar’s little cousin Baby Keem who is granted a relatively lengthy final verse. Perhaps the reason his contribution ended up being so long is because in all honestly it reads a lot like a freestyle, i.e. Keem at least in part flowing off the head.
And the reason we can make that postulation is not only because certain lyrics are repetitive, but also he doesn’t necessarily stick to any one topic for an extended period of bars.
However, a good portion of the passage is dedicated to shall we say a Christian theme, complete with Baby Keem namedropping “your Lord and Savior”, i.e. Jesus. But the latter part of the verse reads more like a come-up narrative and statement of mission on behalf of the vocalist.
For instance, he’s able to celebrate having “turned a heavy heart to $2,000,000’, i.e. the tragedy of his life, when flipped into song, enabling him to become a successful emcee. And overall, this particular vocalist presents himself as someone who knows that the odds are stacked again him and others like him.
However, he is dedicated to making it big in the name of “all the ones dying”, a phrase we will take as a reference to the poor/oppressed.
And we haven’t forgotten about Travis Scott, who holds down the first two verses, both of which are brief. In the first verse he identifies “the devil” as his “opp(onent)” whom he is tasked with continually resisting. And to note, even though he does reference “my God” – with a capital G according to Genius – that is a different, more personalized statement than someone just simply saying “God”, as Kanye does.
But in any event, the second verse doesn’t contain any type of overt religious references, although the line “kept it real tight like your son” reads as if, all lyrics considered, it may be yet another reference to Jesus.
And relatedly, the second verse appears as if it is based on the vocalist’s resiliency against various challenges in life.
The Conclusion of “Praise God”
So whether or not “Praise God” is an actual praise song is ultimately left up to the judgment of the listener. Considering that Kanye West has once again managed to enlist big name artists who don’t normally delve into the Christian realm to make such statements as those highlighted above would just about definitely classify this as praise song in the world of mainstream hip-hop – or Christian rap, as dubbed by some sites.
But as for gospel music purists, as with other tunes found on Donda they may deem this one as dealing with too many diverse, may we even say secular topics (such as a seemingly out-of-nowhere shoutout to Tame Impala) to truly be considered a hardcore Christian piece.
“Praise God” Facts
Primary Artist(s): Kanye West
Featured Artist(s): Baby Keem and Travis Scott
Was “Praise God” a single release?
Kanye West composed this song with the following writers:
- Mark Williams
- Raul Cubina
- 30 Roc
- MIKE DEAN
- Baby Keem
- Travis Scott
The production team behind the song is also quite huge. It consists of Kanye and the following names:
- MIKE DEAN
- 30 Roc
Donda is the tenth studio album of famous rapper, Kanye West. He delayed the album multiple times due to the several and regular changes he made to it. It was scheduled for officially launching on July 24, 2020; however, Universal Records eventually released it on August 29, 2021. Kanye West has stated that the label released the album without seeking his permission.
Donda was titled after Kanye’s late mother, Donda West. It contains 27 singles and many contributions from high-rank musicians, songwriters, and rappers, including Chris Brown, Jay-Z, Young Thug, and more.
Upon its release, it was met with many controversies because it also featured Marilyn Manson and DaBaby, who have been trending after facing allegations of homophobia and sexual abuse. In addition, none of the guest features on Donda were listed on its set.
Donda received over 100 million views on its first day of release and broke Spotify’s global and all-time record for highest first-day streams for an album. In addition, it debuted as the number one album on the following album charts:
- Billboard 200
- UK Albums
Furthermore, it topped the album charts of dozens of countries on its release day. It also broke Apple Music’s record for the highest-streamed album in a day.