128. Kanye West – ‘Jesus Walks’ (2004)

“I want to talk to God
But I’m afraid ‘cos we ain’t spoke in so long”

Taken from the album The College Dropout

US #11, UK #16, AUS #37

This is my favourite Kanye West song, so it means this is the last chance I’ll get to tell you how much I love him, and how I think he’s the greatest artist to have released their debut album in the 2000s (sorry Eminem and Britney, you were just too early). Even though there were about a million amazing songs on Late Registration, Graduation and 808s & Heartbreak, his best work is still The College Dropout, and his best song is still ‘Jesus Walks’.

The marching band beat and confessional lyrics bring together two of Kanye’s best qualities – epic production and intimate subject matter. The samples and catchy chorus propel the song into the realm of the radio hit but the insecurity and lack of faith detailed in the verses make sure this is deeper than your average hip-hop hit. Kanye says about religion that he’s not “here to turn atheists into believers”, and while he might not turn to me into a Christian, he turned me on to the Church of Kanye, and I became a strong believer.

If you don’t include ‘Slow Jamz’, ‘Jesus Walks’ was the most successful single from The College Dropout on the US R&B charts, and was the first Kanye West single to make any sort of major impact in Australia. I remember this song connected with a lot of people my age when it first came out, and seems to be among the most critically and commercially loved Kanye songs. ‘Jesus Walks’ is all about the power of religion and faith but to me it’s about the power of hip-hop itself.

Music video:

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