Kanye West is back with his latest track, “Wash Us in the Blood,” from his forthcoming album, God’s Country.
Labeled as industrial hip hop, this track—which was originally incorporated in West’s Opera, Nebuchadnezzar—features “hard drums and Yeezus-like industrial horror noises.”
It is, at its core, a sonically diverse song that cries out to God for redemption, liberation and salvation amid pain and injustice.
This track opens with an abridged warning from the Apostle Peter: “A roaring lion, walketh about, seekin’ whom he may devour.”
And this warning sets the tone for the rest of the song as Kanye and Travis Scott sing about the pain and injustice experienced by the black community (“Genocide what it does/Slavery what it does/Mass incarc’ what it does/Whole life bein’ thugs/Whole life sellin’ drugs”). They then ask God to “shower us with your love” as God’s blood rains down on “pain” and “the slain.”
Kanye continues by asking the Holy Spirit to move (“Holy Spirit, come down/Holy Spirit, help now”), recognizing that God is the only One who can bring true change (“It was the blood that cleansed me”).
The song’s video is, in some ways, a contrast to the track itself. While Kanye’s prayerful desire for justice is obviously evident in the song’s lyrics, it’s not immediately as clear what the video’s fast-moving sequence of images is trying to accomplish.
Police brutality and injustice are unmistakable themes, as we see clips of the George Floyd protests as well as video of Ahmaud Arbery running before his murder. We see video of Breonna Taylor dancing, clips from the video game Grand Theft Auto, suggestive dancing, and cars doing drifts and burnouts with people hanging out of the window.
Providing still more contrast to that fast-paced montage, the video concludes with Kanye’s daughter North West dancing merrily as Kanye’s Sunday Service Choir rehearses a gospel song. It’s a conclusion that suggests the joy, innocence and carefree goodness represented by North’s smiling face are gifts too often denied to many in the black community who experience pain and injustice.
Combined, the video and song lyrics remind us of our desperate need for God, the only One who can help us move forward in real love and redemptive change.
Kristin Smith joined the Plugged In team in 2017. Formerly a Spanish and English teacher, Kristin loves reading literature and eating authentic Mexican tacos. She and her husband, Eddy, love raising their children Judah and Selah. Kristin also has a deep affection for coffee, music, her dog (Cali) and cat (Aslan).