Track of the Day: 'Jesus Walks' (version one)

Editor’s Note: This article previously appeared in a different format as part of The Atlantic’s Notes section, retired in 2021.

Nadine just posted as an Editor’s Pick this clip from the new documentary In My Father’s House. Her caption:

The hip-hop singer and songwriter Che “Rhymefest” Smith met Kanye West when they were budding young rappers in the Chicago scene. “He came up to me and was like, ‘Yo, you’re one of the top rappers in the city,’” Smith says in [the clip]. ‘The one thing you’re missing is tracks; you need beats and I got beats.” A friendship born out of competition emerged, and Smith and West went on to co-write “Jesus Walks.” In My Father's House, in theaters now, tells the story of Smith’s career, its rise and fall, and his quest to reconcile with his traumatic past.

Jesus Walks” was made into three separate music videos, each a different interpretation of the song. Above is the initial version. (By far the most popular one, with the highest production value, is version two. Version three is here.)