“Wash Us in the Blood” is the latest single from rapper Kanye West touching on many topics that are erupting around the world right now. And to everyone’s pleasure, the track features vocals by Travis Scott.
The music video for “Wash Us in the Blood” is yet again another controversial/creative work from Ye as he features many social elements on to it. From the ongoing pandemic Coronavirus COVID-19 to Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement, racial discrimination, protestst, and footage from the Sunday Services hosted by Kanye himself. The video ends with a clip of Kanye West’s daugther, North West, dancing adorably, behind the scenes, during a Sunday Service rehearsal session. It sends out a powerful message!
The title of the song, “Wash Us in the Blood,” is a reminiscence of the Christian faith in acceptance of Jesus Christ’s sacrifice: “washed in the blood.” However, ‘Us’ also refers to the United States (US), in which the majority of Black oppression takes place.
Watch “Wash Us in the Blood” Video by Kanye West
“Wash Us in the Blood” Lyrics Meaning & Song Review
The intro is a quote from The Bible, specifically from 1 Peter 5:8, which describes the evil ways of the devil.
Kanye West uses the word ‘rain’ as an indication of ‘cleansing from above’ to wash up the sins of Earth. Also he reminds of the wounds that need a healing with such holy water: fallen heroes, all the mothers out there, and literal rain for the farms that feed us all.
In the latter part of the track, Kanye reveals that he grew up in the gutters of the society and rose up in the ranks with his creative skills. He is in the top of the most influential personalities of our time. However, he admits that this is not enough, as he is still drenched in sins. Hence, he calls for a rain from above to cleanse his soul as well. And that shall be his ultimate ascend in life.
In the pre-chorus of the song, Kanye talks about some misconceptions about the entire Black community in the United States. Some of the biggest prejudices about African Americans are that they are all criminally inclined growing up, and they are born into poverty, which also results in making them inclined towards gang violence and drug trade.
Kanye also shouts out to ‘Southside’ of Chicago, his own hometown. The Southside in specific, has a very high tendency towards gun violence.
Kanye West also tries to announce that Black oppression is a form of genocide. And this started with the enslaving of African Americans for over 100 years in the history of the United States. It might still be an ongoing thing, manifesting in different shapes and forms.
These lyrics are a repetition of the title of the song, and is a call for a heavenyl rain to wash all of us from our sins.
In the second verse, Kanye points out the absurdity of the prison system in the United States. He calls is ‘mass incarceration.’ Statistically, the US has one of the highest imprisonment rates in the world. In 2016, 2.2 million Americans have been incarcerated, which means for every 100,000 there are 655 that are currently inmates. Among this, African Americans had the highest imprisonment rates as a % of ethnicity: 2,306 per 100,000 (White: 450 per 100,000 and Hispanic: 831 per 100,000) (source: Wikipedia).
Travis Scott jumps in on the song and highlights that 30 states in the United States are authorized to execute prisoners. Kanye quotes from The Bible that directly goes against this practice: “Thou shall not kill.”
In the third and final verse of “Wash Us in the Blood,” Kanye West talks about him being censored and cut off for speaking the truth. Kanye West has been a ‘controversial’ personality from the beginning of his career. Most of the time, this has been due to him speaking his mind openly and publicly. Kanye claims that often times his speeches are altered in order to manipulate the truth that he speaks. So, he corrects those manipualted truths when he is in the booth. His music speaks the uncensored version of Kanye West!
Let us hear what you think about this song in the comments below. Check out the complete lyrics and further meaning breakdown on Genius.