'The Life of Pablo' - Is Kanye West's New Album Title Referencing The Bible?

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Today is the long-awaited release date of Kanye West’s new album The Life of Pablo. Mr. West has been touting the record as being a gospel album with “a lot of cursing.” The name of the album has gone from So Help Me God, to Swish to Waves and finally to The Life of Pablo.

Now bear with me readers. Get your tin foil hats on, and get ready to take a trip down conspiracy lane. This is 100 percent a theory concocted by me regarding what the new album is about.

The Life of Pablo is about the APOSTLE PAUL from the Bible, or, at least, it partially is. Now hear me out…

It is being reported and suggested that The Life of Pablo is referring to Pablo Picasso. Kanye has eluded to this in the song “No More Parties in LA.” “I feel like Pablo when I'm working on my shoes, I feel like Pablo when I see me on the news.”

“My goal, if I was going to do art, fine art, would have been to become Picasso or greater. That always sounds so funny to people, comparing yourself to someone who has done so much, and that's a mentality that suppresses humanity,” Kanye said in a talk to the Oxford Guild.

All right, cool. Kanye is inspired by Picasso. What artist isn’t? Now here’s where I think the message gets deeper. Kanye said the album is about the story of transformation. He referenced a Mary to Mary Magdalene-type transformation on a Big Boy TV interview. “Ultra-light beams. I’m trying to open up hearts, minds. When I was sitting in the studio with Kirk [Franklin] and we were 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,’” said West. “It was the gospel according to Ye. It’s not exactly what happened in the Bible, but it’s a story of this idea of Mary Magdalene becoming Mary.”

Then there’s the fact that it is supposedly a “gospel” album and he was in the studio with Kirk Franklin, Crystal Lewis, Anthony Evans, and other gospel artists. Pastor T.L. Barrett's gospel song of the same name is also sampled on "Father Stretch My Hands."

Let’s pause and think for a moment. Did Pablo Picasso have a crazy transformation? No. Did Pablo Escobar have a crazy transformation? No. Did the Apostle Paul have a crazy transformation? Yes, he sure did!

And for those not getting the connection, Paul in Spanish is Pablo. In Latin it is Paulo.

Now let’s go further down the rabbit hole. The opening track of the record is “Ultra Light Beams.” Isn’t that how the transformation story of Paul starts? The Christian persecutor Saul was traveling through the desert when a flash of blinding light stopped him in his tracks. Jesus appeared to Saul and told him he would now be Paul, and he was to dedicate his life to Christ. From then on, Paul became Christianity’s biggest advocate and missionary.

The second track on the album is “Father Stretch My Hands Parts, 1 and 2.” After Googling "Apostle Paul and Father Stretch My Hands," I found a breakdown of Romans 10, read it here. Toward the bottom of the passage, right above page number 236. It says, “The expression spread out my hands is very emphatic. In procuring our salvation by the ministers of His Word, God stretches forth His hands to us exactly as a father stretches forth his arms, ready to receive…” Paul is quoting a passage in Isaiah that says God is stretching His hand to bless Israel and using it as an example of a loving father.

If we take a look at one of Kanye’s latest tweets, he said he cried writing “Father Stretch My Hands.” Then he said, “I love my dad.” Now sure, he can definitely be talking about his own father because the lyrics would suggest that. But perhaps maybe there is a double meaning to it. He says he “lost his soul” and “lost control.” Maybe the symbolism is in seeing the light in the first track and then seeing the chaos of his life and asking God to stretch his hands toward salvation, much like Paul was stretched to be a vessel for God. “Then Ananias went to the house and entered it. Placing his hands on Saul, he said, “Brother Saul, the Lord—Jesus, who appeared to you on the road as you were coming here—has sent me so that you may see again and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” Immediately, something like scales fell from Saul’s eyes, and he could see again. He got up and was baptized…” Acts 9:17-18.

Another piece of info linking Pablo to Paul is the fact that prior to his life as a missionary, his trade was in tent making. This is referenced in Acts 18:3. Now the Kanye connection comes in when we revisit “No Parties in LA.”

“I feel like Pablo when I'm working on my shoes, I feel like Pablo when I see me on the news. I feel like Pablo when I'm building my house.” Okay, while working on shoes he feels like a Picasso. When he is on the news he feels like Pablo Escobar. Now who is the third Pablo building the house? It’s Paul, the tent maker who built tent houses.

Also, Kanye has been cryptically dropping the message "Which one?" next to the name of the album every time he makes a post about it. He is daring us to guess, and the first and second Pablo's seem easy, the third, not so much.



Lastly, let’s take a look at the final track, “Wolves.” Some of the lyrics are, “Lost and, beat up/Dancin', down there/ I found you, somewhere out”…”Lost and, found now/Turned out, our new love/Daddy, found out/How you turned out, how you turned out”…”I was lost and beat up/ Turned out, burned up/ You found me, through a heartache/ Knowin’, you were drawn in/ I was lost and beat up/ I was warm flesh, unseasoned/ You found me, in your gaze/ I found you, oh Jesus/ I was too wild, I was too wild”

It feels like a final confession to God and an acknowledgment that it was time to change all that “too wild” behavior.

Okay, so that is it. This is the best and most elaborate Kanye West theory I can come up with. I present to you the facts. I understand and am expecting to be wrong, but wouldn’t it be awesome if Paul was the Pablo, Kanye was referencing? He claims to be a Christian and says this is a gospel album about change, so it make sense, right?

*Update: Our theory was right. Kanye posted to Twitter here.

What do you all think? I guess we’ll find out later today if the album is indeed a "God's dream."

About the Author
Justin Sarachik has been writing about music since 2010 reporting and editing for The Christian Post, BREATHEcast, Broken Records Magazine, and his own blog TheSIBandGuy. When not conducting obscenely long phone interviews he jumps around on stage with his progressive rock/rap band Process of Fusion in Staten Island, NY.

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