By: Tim Lee
I didn’t think that Kanye West’s cover art for his latest project, Jesus is King, meant anything until I visited a freshman English class at Howard University. The lecture, taught by Dr. David Green, the associate professor of English and Director of Writing, was about the importance of and techniques for using descriptive language. As an exercise, he asked everyone to look up one of their favorite artist’s Cover artwork for one of their albums and write a brief description about it using the knowledge from the day’s lesson. Since I have been working on a review of Jesus is King for the past week, I decided to look up Kanye’s cover art. To my surprise, I not only found that several people had already written about the cover art, I also found that Ben Blackwell, a Detroit music historian, had allegedly cracked the code to the cover art. After reading his findings, several questions came to mind. I will only ask and answer the top three.
- Is “AR 1331 A” the only code in the cover art?
- What does blue signify?
- What does gold signify?
My questions lead me on a quest. Here’s what I found:
1. Of course not. Beyond cracking the code of the number significance, I haven’t seen much talk about the color significance. Perhaps a deeper dive into the meaning of the colors may at some later time open more doors of interpretation about the code.
2. BLUE: Water is blue. The sky is blue.
Psychological Significance: mentally relaxing, evokes feelings of calmness and serenity; described as peaceful, tranquil secure and orderly.
Biblical Significance: Heaven, healing power of God, the word of God, the presence of God
Spiritual Significance: depth, trust, loyalty, confidence, intelligence, truth and wisdom;
Chakra Significance: the throat chakra: associated with creativity and self-expression, listening and communicating; when open even negative experiences are transformed into wisdom; success and failure are determined by this chakra; guilt blocks it, meditating on it can bring about occult powers and visions
Occult Significance: occult power, expansion, Jupiter, abundance, long journeys, summon demons, used in spells, incite depression, sadness, helplessness, lack of sympathy, coldness and gloom
3. GOLD: Fire is Gold. The sun is gold. Gold is the precious and coveted metal into which alchemists sought to turn other metals.
Psychological Significance: success, achievement , prosperity, affluence, material wealth
Biblical Significance: glory, divinity, kingship, eternity, beauty, holiness
Spiritual Significance: purity, communion with the source of all being;
Chakra Significance: solar plexus chakra: golden yellow in color; associated with leadership, the power of fire, and transformation; considered to be the center of our power, self-esteem, self-discipline and the essence of identity; meditating on it can give power to save, change, or destroy the world, blocked by self-criticism and self-judgment
Occult Significance: one of the most powerful colors, divination, fast luck, magical power; Satan has a golden aura, Satanic alchemy, perfection of the soul, power
In literature and art, there are several meanings to everything. One of the reasons I like listening to music and interpreting art overall is to apply the various layers of meaning to see what the artist was intending beyond the surface of what the common eye is able to see. Based upon the above definitions, one could assert a number of meanings from the cover art of Jesus is King. It could range from one to ten, everything in between and beyond. One (1) signifying Kanye’s new relationship with Christ and the true healing and real peace he hopes to experience from his recent profession of Jesus’ Kingship. And ten (10) signifying that Kanye West is masking his worship of the planets, specifically Jupiter (planet/god of abundance that makes people rich)—casting spells on the listeners with hidden messages using satanic alchemy and magic disguised as miracles and the power of God.
I will not disclose what I took away from the cover art. I will, however, say that I am sure there’s more to it than what is on the surface. And way more to it than what’s in the letters and numbers on the side. Were the numbers a convenient distraction?