Kanye West: ‘Being in Service to Christ’ Got Me Through Hardships

INDIO, CALIFORNIA - APRIL 21: Kanye West performs Sunday Service during the 2019 Coachella Valley Music And Arts Festival on April 21, 2019 in Indio, California. (Photo by Rich Fury/Getty Images for Coachella)
Rich Fury/Getty Images for Coachella

Famed iconoclastic rapper and fashion titan Kanye West is crediting his belief in Christ for getting him through the hardships and attacks he has suffered over the last few years.

In a wide-ranging cover story for Forbes, West credited his climbing back from what could have been a life-ending abyss to his deep faith in God.

For the magazine, writer Zack O’Malley Greenburg described the scene as he first entered the lavish home that the rapper shares with his wife, Kim Kardashian West, and their four children.

Greenburg noted that upon entering the West home, he was asked to put protective booties over his shoes so as not to track outside dirt into the home. Greenburg next noticed a wall of interesting books.

“To my left is West’s library, its shelves stacked with the likes of Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty and Takashi Murakami: Lineage of Eccentrics,” Greenburg wrote.

West first noticed the Air Jordan shoes the interviewer was wearing and said, “The first shoe I remember sketching was the Jordan One that you’re wearing right now,” he said adding, “God does have a way of lining things up.”

Kanye West performs Sunday Service during the 2019 Coachella Valley Music And Arts Festival on April 21, 2019 in Indio, California. (Rich Fury/Getty Images for Coachella)

The rapper mentioned his religious ideas several times during the pair’s time together. Indeed, he credits his faith for helping him center himself in life.

Rewind to three years ago, when West claimed to be $53 million in debt, just before canceling the back of a lucrative arena tour and checking into a Los Angeles hospital for over a week with symptoms of sleep deprivation and temporary psychosis. West credits his turnaround to religious beliefs (“being in service to Christ, the radical obedience”) —and, on occasion, to being bipolar. Call him creative, call him chaotic—just don’t call him crazy. Like some entrepreneurs with conditions like ADHD and Asperger’s, he sees his diagnosis not as a hindrance but as a “superpower” that unlocks his imagination.

Greenburg later noted that West’s equally famous wife helped introduce her husband to a large social media following, helping to propel their many product lines.

The partnership works both ways. Kardashian West seeks out her husband’s opinion on all of her projects, from the Kim Kardashian: Hollywood mobile game to her recent shapewear line. When she brought him mockups for the latter, West wasn’t impressed. He sat down and drafted a new logo before personally redesigning the packaging. In any case, West’s advice isn’t limited to the creative side. “He’s just taught me as a person to never compromise and to really take ownership,” says Kardashian West, who ranks No. 26 on The Celebrity 100. “Before, I was really the opposite. I would throw my name on anything.”

“Given their hectic schedules, Kardashian West and West often trade ideas at what he calls ‘bedtime true-crime story meetings,’ where she watches police procedurals while he shows her mockups,” Greenburg added.

The Yeezy chief added that he is “blessed through the grace of God” to go from asking for a loan to running an empire.

“I’m just blessed through the grace of God to go from tweeting at Mark Zuckerberg” to ask for money, West says, to where he is today. He can laugh at himself a little now. “People wondered, ‘Why did you tweet at Mark Zuckerberg?’ And I was like, ‘Hey, I heard he was looking for aliens.'”

Kanye has not hidden his religious beliefs under a bushel, either. For instance, he recently led an emotional Easter Sunday church service at this year’s Coachella music festival, as part of his on-going “Sunday Service” regimen.

West ended the interview saying that his billion-dollar Yeezy empire is still just budding.

“We’ve yet to see all of the beauty that would be manifested through this partnership,” West told Greenburg. “We’ve only experienced a small glimmer of light.”

Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston.

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