How Kanye, Chance, and twigs Used Christian Iconography to Define 2019
This year, conversation with Zane Lowe, Chance remarked, “If we can’t talk about faith, then why we talking?”
Chance isn’t the only artist this year searching for redemption, guidance, and moral understanding with the help of Christian iconography. FKA twigs released her sophomore album MAGDALENE, which used one of Jesus’ exploited and underlooked disciples as a beacon of strength, sensuality, and healing; On her debut album Athena, Sudan Archives reimagines the Greek goddess in her image and uses gospel scriptures to reconcile her understandings of right and wrong; Kanye West released Jesus Is King as an album of redemption and repentance of his past music sins; Kristin Hayter uses biblical language to craft redemption songs for victims of abuse as Lingua Ignota. Musicians are either using the word as a means of personal transcendence, blind propaganda, or empowering subversion.
The growing hunger for exaltation and explanation is not much of a surprise considering that 2019 has been riddled with reminders of our mortality – Dictionary.com just dubbed “existential” as the word of the year. Whether it’s our dying planet, the frustrations with government proceedings, massive gun violence, or struggling for safety and autonomy of your own body, even if the world isn’t going to end soon, we’re constantly confronted with our corporal limits. The artists listed above are just a handful who are grappling with our existence, which has anxiously been up for debate.