35. No Church in the Wild
Release Date: March 20, 2012
Album: Watch the Throne
Writer(s): James Brown, Shawn Carter, Mike Dean, Christopher Francis, Phil Manzanera, Terius Nash, Charles Njapa, Joseph Roach, Kanye West, Gary Wright
Producer(s): 88-Keys, Dean, West
“It’s something that the pastor don’t preach
It’s something that a teacher can’t teach
When we die, the money we can’t keep
But we probably spend it all cause the pain ain’t cheap
I mentioned earlier that “No Church in the Wild” is an oddly somber way to open up an album like Watch the Throne. That’s no criticism, of course. This is a great track, and one that tackles an unusual subject matter: organized religion and its inadequacies.
Now, like any issue-oriented song in Kanye’s catalog, it strays from the central theme early and often. While Frank Ocean and The-Dream combine to add some gospel themes with their hook and bridge, respectively, Jay-Z lays out a damning case against the church, and Kanye, well, raps about Kanye.
It’s actually an inversion of another poignant song the two recorded years early, “Diamonds from Sierra Leone (Remix).” In that song it was Kanye getting real serious early, only for Jay to come in and make the whole thing about himself.
It’s fitting that it’s Kanye’s verse that ends it, because from the end of that song on, Watch the Thrones is a celebration, with no return to the deep themes Jay lays out in the opener.
Next: 34. Sanctified