Kanye West has surprised all of his fans by dropping “Wash Us In the Blood,” the first track from his highly-anticipated new album, God’s Country.

Last year, the Chicago-born rapper took a detour musically with the release of Jesus Is King. This gospel album heavily featured his Sunday Service Choir, a choir which Kanye has been leading and working with since January 2019.

The release of “Wash Us In the Blood ft. Travis Scott” on Tuesday, June 30th signalled to fans that a Yeezus-style return was on our hands. However there is evidently still a Christian message at the song’s core. Kanye also dropped the music video on June 30th, which rocketed to the top trending spot on YouTube almost immediately.

Arthur Jafa is the director of the “Wash Us In the Blood” music video, and has collaborated with Kanye previously. So, we thought best to find out more about the artist and his work.

Who is Arthur Jafa?

Arthur Jafa is a 59-year-old video artist and cinematographer. He was born on November 30, 1960 in Tupelo, Mississippi and later raised in Clarksdale, Mississippi.

Jafa originally studied architecture and film at Howard University before moving to Atlanta, Georgia to pursue a career as an artist.

The artist has also worked as a cinematographer over the years, having served as the director of photography for Julie Dash’s film Daughters of the Dust. Arthur Jafa also has extensive experience in the music industry having shot music videos for Solange and Jay-Z.

When have Arthur Jafa and Kanye West collaborated?

“Wash Us In the Blood” is not the first project that Arthur Jafa and Kanye West have collaborated on.

Kanye West’s song “Ultralight Beam” features as the soundtrack for Jafa’s 7-minute long video essay Love Is the Message, The Message Is Death. This track is taken from one of Kanye’s most celebrated albums The Life of Pablo (2016).

You can see many parallels between Love Is the Message, The Message Is Death and the “Wash Us In the Blood” music video. Jafa was the perfect artist to carry out Kanye’s message through video art.

Jafa was only in the news just days ago as on Sunday, June 28th, 13 art institutions from around the world all streamed Jafa’s Love is the Message, The Message is Death.

“Wash Us In the Blood”

The music video for “Wash Us In the Blood” opens with protest footage. It then cuts to clips from Kanye’s Saint Pablo Tour in 2016 and behind-the-scenes Sunday Service rehearsals. 

It even includes a clip of Kanye’s daughter North West at the end of the video.

The live footage is interspersed with footage inspired by GTA gameplay. Arthur Jafa utilises game-like imagery throughout the video and in the artwork for the single.

In other news, Liza Koshy makes a public apology for Japanese candy video.