There has been a lot of speculation that the song Power by Kanye West deals with heavy themes involving spirituality, the New World Order and the Illuminati. I'm not entirely sure if all of those concepts are dealt with in the song but I was intrigued by the chorus so I decided to look up the lyrics. What I have walked away with so far are ideas about the Antichrist, these ideas are reinforced by the "video" and the artwork for the album cover.
I don't want to deal with the visuals of either that much because the only thing that we know is that Kanye could very well be the one with the power himself in the video who was defeated on the album cover. Those with a deeper, more esoteric understanding of symbolism can attack the meaning of the aesthetic that is being used to promote the work. I am sure that many will in the coming weeks as those intelligent enough to make sense of those visuals will take a crack at it. After all, analyzing music videos and visual images is a favorite past-time of anyone who has been watching music videos over the last decade, when the visual images have begun to suggest a deeper, more profound meaning than they had previously, when they were more discrete.
I took the lyrics from "Metrolyrics (Beyond the Words)", they do not provide any interpretations of songs themselves, but were the first reference to come up with I searched for the lyrics. In the first verse he says that he is living in the 21st century, does it better than anyone else and loves the idea that he haters, this in an of itself is nothing new. But then he gets right into the chorus and says that no one man should have all that power, and that he is counting down the hours. Well that is rather strange, if he is doing it better than everyone else and is enjoying the attention he is getting why is he counting down hours? Also, is it that he has a little bit of power, and has too much, or that he is just now coming into the power.
If the Antichrist is someone who is going to seize power it is conceivable that people will come to the conclusion think that no one person should have that much power. The only contradiction of that theory, is that Kanye referred to his haters earlier on. The way that I understood it the Antichrist is not going to have any haters because no one would have known who he was anyway. His ascension to power is such that everyone will be caught off guard, though I could be wrong about this that is the way I have understood it.
Then he moves on and talks about Black culture, which is something that Kanye does best. The schools are closed, but the prisons are open, but we have our light skinned girls and we're rollin', in other words riding around in nice cars. Then he says that in a White Man's world, they are the chosen. He then says goodnight to the world, and says that he will see them in the morning. He then calls out the cast of Saturday Night Live, says that their thoughts are Napoleon, talks about his furs and his ice. To sum it all up, his own childlike creativity is challenged by his trials as an adult, he doesn't need women because of his own ego, and that a beautiful death is to be found in jumping out the window and letting everything go.
My interpretation of this song, that there is no interpretation to be found. The Antichrist is not interested in killing himself. Perhaps the end to all of the materialism and wealth is to let it all go and jump out the window. Perhaps the end to the means is to let it all go and go back to a normal existence. For those who are not strong enough to deal with what is to come about in the 21st century, suicide may be a realistic option. Kanye says that I have the power to let power come. Is God within me, what is he really talking about?
The real genius of the song is that you can either let it fade into your subconscious or try to figure out what it means or just let it go. It is contradictory in nature, and does not really appear to have any real sinister or dark meaning behind it. It has your typical self-aggrandizing nature that you find in any hip-hop song. Kanye is talking about something deeper than girls, diamonds and clothes, but then again he isn't. He is suggesting that he still isn't happy with all of the money, but if that is the case why does he continue to pursue it. Is he talking about the corporate ladder, a one world government, or power in general?
Kanye is great at assembling pop culture out of thin air and packaging it and selling it to you in an album as every great songwriter is. But at the end of the day it is the same empty pop culture that has existed for the last seventy years. Kanye could be talking about the end to popular culture as we know it in the Black community, or using himself in his own typical self-deprecating way to drive home a deeper point about what we perceive as power. We see power as wealth, having whatever women you want and as many women as one can possibly have, having money to spend on clothes and material items, everything but using our money to reinvest in our own communities and help someone else acquire wealth. We like to keep our wealth to ourselves, but if we are going to jump out the window anyway we may as well give it away...