Blasphemy in Rock: a Timeline

by Jonah Wolf

Yesterday morning Kanye West shared a snippet of "I Am a God," the provocatively-titled song from his forthcoming album Yeezus. The grandiosity is off-putting, but it's nothing new -- this is the guy who wore a crown of thorns on the cover of Rolling Stone. And anyway, rockers have been comparing themselves to deities since Jesus was still bigger than the Beatles. Here's a timeline, and playlist. (Spoiler: the Wu-Tang Clan feature prominently)

</p><p><b>1986</b>: Three Melbourne teens get together under the name <b>God</b>, issue the proto-grunge barnstomper "My Pal."</p><p></p><p><b>1991</b>: Grand Puba raps "Swing the microphone like the great mighty Thor" -- who of course was a Norse god before he was in Marvel Comics -- on <b>Brand Nubian</b>'s "Feels So Good."</p><p></p><p><b>1993</b>: A narcotics sentence limits <b>U-God</b>'s presence on <i>Enter the Wu-Tang: 36 Chambers</i>, but his opening verse on "Da Mystery of Chessboxin'" ("Raw I'm-a give it to you, with no trivia/ Raw like cocaine straight from Bolivia") is one for the ages.</p><p></p><p><b>1997</b>: <b>Ol' Dirty Bastard</b> (who sometimes went by the alias "Big Baby Jesus") proclaims himself "the Osirus of this shit" -- a reference to the Egyptian god of the afterlife -- on Wu-Tang single "Triumph."</p><p></p><p><b>1998</b>: "I Am the Bullgod" is the second single from <b>Kid Rock</b>'s <i style="font-size: 1em;">Devil Without a Cause</i>; the third, "Bawitdaba," will launch the Detroit rapper into national fame.</p><p></p><p><b>2001</b>: <b>Jay-Z</b> claims the title "J-Hova" (short for "Jehovah) on his smash "Izzo (H.O.V.A.)."</p><p></p><p><b>2002</b>: <b>Nas</b> releases <i>God's Son</i>: a head-scratching move in light of his beef with Jay-Z.</p><p></p><p><b>2004</b>: Ghostface Killah sideman <b>Trife Da God</b> makes his début on "Biscuits," from his mentor's <i>Pretty Toney Album</i>.</p><p></p><p><b>2009</b>: Rap's original virtuoso <b>Rakim</b> reclaims the title of "God MC" on "Holy Are You."</p><p></p><p><b>2010</b>: <b>Lil B</b> releases "I'm God."</p><p/></div>

Subscribe to Get More