Ready or not, Kanye West has returned with new music. The billionaire rapper has released “Wash Us in the Blood”, the first single from an upcoming album that’s tentatively titled God’s Country. The track features guest vocals from Travis Scott and is mixed by Dr. Dre.
“Wash Us in the Blood” is the first new music that West has released since his pair of 2019 gospel rap albums, Jesus Is King and Jesus Is Born. Clearly, he’s sticking to last year’s pledge to completely give up making secular music, as the titles of this song and the record are rooted in religious imagery.
In a Kanye profile from GQ earlier this year, reporter Will Welch witnessed the rapper working on “Wash Us in the Blood” in the studio and described the song as “Yeezus-like,” which certainly holds up. The track has an industrial hip-hop sound to it that’s decidedly noisier and more aggressive than his soulful 2019 output and his minimalist 2018 record, ye.
In terms of subject matter, though it’s chock-full of religious themes and motifs, and stays true to Kanye’s previous pledge to feature no cursing, the track does touch on Black oppression, mass incarceration, and slavery. There also seem to be a number of references to Kanye’s ongoing battle with mental illness (“They don’t want me to be Kanye/ They don’t want Kanye to be Kanye/ They wanna sign a fake Kanye, they tryna sign a calm Ye”), which he’s been outspoken about in recent years.
The single’s corresponding video was directed by past collaborator Arthur Jafa, who first announced God’s Country. It’s a powerful watch featuring footage from recent Black Lives Matter protests and Kanye’s own Saint Pablo Tour. There’s also a short clip of Ahmaud Arbery, right before he was murdered by police officers for simply jogging in his neighborhood. The entire thing ends with video of Kanye’s daughter, North, dancing at a Sunday Service rehearsal as the chorus repeats: “Rain, rain down on us/ Holy spirit, come down/ Holy spirit, come down/ We need you now.”
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So far, there’s no tracklist or release date for God’s Country, and like all Kanye album rollouts, it’s impossible to predict when the full-length will actually arrive and what form it will ultimately take. Biblical opera? Sunday Service (complete with outlandish brunch offering)? Stay tuned for more.
Ye just contributed to the new Teyana Taylor record, but he’s been exceptionally busy outside of music. Earlier this month, the MC launched a college fund for the daughter of murdered Black man George Floyd. He and Kid Cudi are also officially moving forward with an animated TV show based on their Kids See Ghosts collaborative debut. Additionally, Kanye announced last week that he’s teaming up with Gap to create an affordable, mass-produced clothing line. He’s since celebrated the new fashion partnership by putting up a giant mural over the Chicago-area Gap store he used to frequent.
WASH US IN THE BLOOD
FROM THE FORTHCOMING ALBUM GOD'S COUNTRY
— ye (@kanyewest) June 29, 2020
WASH US IN THE BLOOD COVER BY ARTHUR JAFAhttps://t.co/Oqvrhku0QE
— ye (@kanyewest) June 30, 2020