While 38-year-old West has touted his eighth studio record as such, Christian rapper Lecrae, 36, thinks differently.
“I don’t know exactly what he meant. I’m thinking he was going for stylistically gospel,” Lecrae told the Journal Star. “When people categorize every other genre of music, it’s based on style. Jazz is not about the content, it’s the style… and gospel has a distinct style.”
Still, Lecrae does not believe West’s content is gospel centered.
“If he was going for the style, then absolutely, he pulled from gospel music to make his album,” the rapper who topped the gospel music charts said. “If he’s talking about the content, I think it’s another story altogether.”
Earlier this year, West explained likening his record to a gospel music album.
“When I was sitting in the studio with Kirk, Kirk Franklin, and we’re just going through it, I said this is a gospel album, with a whole lot of cursing on it, but it’s still a gospel album,” West said in a previous interview on Big Boy Radio. “The gospel according to Ye. It’s not exactly what happened in the Bible, but it’s this story idea of Mary Magdalene becoming Mary.”
The rapper went on to reveal that he believed God, his late mother Donda West and his wife Kim Kardashian’s late father Robert Kardashian Sr. were helping him finish his album.
“I’m only doing one percent, two percent of the work and God is doing the rest of the work. My mom… had Teddy Riley change his flight and come back to the studio,” West said. “Robert Kardashian is making sure that all the deals is getting done. He’s still doing deals for controversial black people from up in heaven.”
West also went on to reveal that the album title, “The Life of Pablo” was inspired by the Apostle Paul, whose name translates to Pablo in spanish.
“Paul … The most powerful messenger of the first century…,” West tweeted last February. “Now we stand here 20 centuries later… Because he was a traveler…”
West went on to draw a comparison between Paul’s life and his own.
“He was a learned man not of the original sect so he was able to take the message to the rest of the world…He was saved from persecution due to his Roman citizenship…,” he tweeted. “I have the right to speak my voice…Please forgive the profanity and give hugs and blessings to my brother Kirk for standing by me…”
West is referring to Kirk Franklin, one of the biggest names in gospel music, who prayed on the album cut “Ultra Light Beams.” The gospel musician has defended his decision to collaborate on West’s record.
“I will not turn my back on my brother. I will love him, prayerfully grow with him,” Franklin wrote on Instagram. “However long he’ll have me, and however long the race takes. To a lot of my Christian family, I’m sorry he’s not good enough, Christian enough, or running at your pace…and as I read some of your comments, neither am I.”