On his hit 2021 Album Donda, Kanye West had several popular rap songs with lots of deep meaning behind the lyrics. One of the most prevalent tracks on this album is called Hurricane written and produced by Kanye West himself, featuring The Weeknd (Abel Makkonen Tesfaye) and Lil Baby (Dominique Jones). The three artists featured in this song rap about their past experiences with certain vices, hardships, and mental struggles (of which they are not proud) and how they have escaped their past through finding God and devoting their life to Christianity. This song can be considered poetry because of the several striking lines and deep meaning in the song.
One of the most powerful segments of the song comes during Kanye West’s first verse when he says;
Sixty-million dollar home, never went home to it
Genius gone clueless, it’s a whole lot to risk
Alcohol anonymous, who’s the busiest loser?
These lines are especially powerful because they each convey a struggle that West has dealt with despite his fame and great success. The first line represents how West is unable to spend time with his family because of his job. This is especially powerful because it is coming at a time where West is going through a divorce and will likely never be with his family in the same way he used to. The second line represents West’s lack of direction in his life. He is often referred to as a lyrical and musical genius, but when he says he has “gone clueless” this represents the lack of purpose and direction in West’s life. The last line shows that West still struggled with substance abuse even when he became rich and famous. Overall West’s verse on the song represents the inevitable worldly struggles faced by everyone.
In The Weeknd’s (Abel Makkonen Tesfaye) chorus he sings about how religion has saved him when he says;
I see you in 3D, the dawn is bright for me
No more dark for me, I know You’re watchin’ me
Eighty degrees, burnin’ up the leaves
Finally, I’m free, finally, I’m free
As I go out to sea, I can walk on water
Won’t you shine Your light? Demons stuck on my shoulder
Father, hold me close, don’t let me drown
I know You won’t
This final chorus contains several striking lines. In the first two lines, Tesfaye describes how God’s guidance has opened his eyes and given new meaning to life. The final two lines are debatably the most powerful of the entire song. Tesfaye describes how he has put his full trust in God. Overall Tesfaye’s verse represents rebirth and renewal through God and how God is more powerful than worldly problems.
West and Tesfaye’s verses have a very stark contrast in terms of message and meaning. But when seen in context next to each other we can see the meaning behind the juxtaposition of these two verses. West describes the hardships of being a human, and how money fails to solve these hardships, while Tesfaye describes God’s ability to solve any problem no matter how great. When combined these two messages represent West and Tesfaye’s struggles in life, they thought that riches and fame would solve these issues, but in the end, they learn that God is the answer to all of their worldly problems.
One thought on “Hurricane”
I think the specific verses you chose to highlight have a lot of poetic elements in them. I think the lines about religion were especially powerful. I think the extended metaphor of drowning and being saved was really interesting and conveyed the meaning of the song in a unique way. I also thought the line about having a devil on his shoulder was an interesting and poetic way to describe how he felt about himself.