“It’s about imperfection. Everybody can relate to that.”
– Kanye West to Che Smith, friend and co-writer of “Jesus Walks”
At a time when hip-hop was plagued with oversexed M.C.’s and superficial rhymes you could say that Kanye West flew onto the scene like an angel out of heaven. His smash first single “Slow Jam” would pre-empt any chances of being mislabeled as a Gospel artist, but the inspirational, yet non-preachy “Jesus Walks” earned him a place next to other Patron Saints of Imperfection such as John Coltrane (“Love Supreme”), Marvin Gaye “What’s Going On?” and Tupac Shakur (Too many songs with spiritual force and social relevance to name just one). Hua Hsu of the Village Voice had it right when he wrote in his review of West’s first album The College Dropout entitled “The Benz or the Backpack?” that self-conflict was in. With his second album, Late Registration, West proves that he is the king of cognitive and spiritual dissonance, which helps him capture the complex nature of the human condition better than any of his peers in hip-hop and perhaps better than anyone in music – period.