Kanye West’s single “Jesus Walks,” previously on heavy radio rotation, has incited debate over the use of the word “Jesus” and the role of religion in secular music, a topic West addressed directly in a “60 Minutes” interview to air Wednesday (Dec. 8).
West, known for his upbeat rhymes, told “60 Minutes” correspondent Bob Simon that his fellow industry associates advised him about putting out the single “Jesus Walks,” which confronts the censorship of the word “Jesus” on radio stations.
The Chicago native compared the use of the word in the song to using the N word.
“People would be like, ‘Yo, it’s the best song I ever heard, but it’ll never make it on radio,’ and it frustrated me, so the second verse I wrote about how they say you can’t say Jesus on radio…The word Jesus was like saying [the n-word],” West said. “It’s gonna offend people for you to say Jesus.”
While some have criticized West’ use of the word “Jesus” along with curse words, West stated that the song targets a particular audience.
“The song is not for [evangelical listeners],” West responded to Simon’s comment that curses might detract religious crowds. “It’s speaking to the people that I think God is really trying to reach.”
The complete report will air on the CBS Wednesday (Dec. 8) at 8:00 p.m. E.T.
In related news, following a bunch of awards and honors this year, West leads Grammy Award contenders with 10 nominations, organizers announced today (Dec. 7). West’s debut album College Dropout has inhabited the tops of charts since its release.“It’s overwhelming,” said West. “ It’s just been an amazing year for me, and I feel so blessed to have the opportunity to touch people with my music. To be honest, it’s even a bit scary, all this love from the fans and my peers and the academy. I’m working on my new album right now, and I want it to be something that’s just as special.”
Five of West’s nominations are in the rap category, including best rap album.
He also has two nominations in the best rap-sung collaboration class for his songs “Slow Jamz,” featuring Twista and Jamie Foxx, and “All Falls Down,” featuring Syleena Johnson.
R&B singers Alicia Keys and Usher, who have also had a stellar award year, notched eight nominations each.