Kanye West takes James Corden on a spiritual flight for ‘Airpool Karaoke’
Kanye West helped James Corden remedy an 808 and heartbreak on Monday when he joined the “Late Late Show” host for a special edition of “Carpool Karaoke,” but the two ended up talking frankly about religion, mental illness, marriage and personal finances.
At one point, West even claimed that his tax refund this year reached a whopping $68 million.
Corden used the recurring deceit of his viral segment to enlist the rapper for a ride after his Los Angeles-bound Flight 808 from Ontario, Calif., was supposedly canceled. So they embarked on “Airpool Karaoke,” an actual jet-setting endeavor with West’s now-famous Sunday Service choir.
As it turns out, Corden is very much “a talker” not “a sleeper” when it comes to flying the friendly skies.
Pegged to the debut of West’s “Jesus Is King” album, his much-hyped excursion into gospel music, the rapper attempted to minister to the singalong-loving host. Sure, there was music too, including the choir’s divine re-imaginings of Shanell’s “Ready...,” Ginuwine’s “So Anxious” and West’s hit “Through the Wire,” and a few jokes, but the segment was far more serious than Corden’s other carpools.
West, who began the 19-minute segment pretty disengaged, became an open book at cruising altitude, particularly when it came to his spiritual awakening. He told Corden that when he was hospitalized in 2016, he wrote the phrase “start a church in Calabasas,” his wife Kim Kardashian’s hometown, where they now have a home with their four children.
“It’s something I had a feeling that I needed to do that God put on my heart. And now he just keeps on taking me to new levels, and taking us to other levels, that we didn’t even imagine before,” West said.
On Wednesday, weeks after the projects were supposed to be released, West played his new gospel-driven album and accompanying IMAX film for fans.
Corden also noted that religious themes had been in much of the artist’s earlier music, including the 2004 track “Jesus Walks.”
“God’s always had a plan for me,” West added. “And he’s always wanted to use me. But I think he wanted me to suffer more and wanted people to see my suffering and see my pain and put stigmas on me and have me go through all the human experiences. So now when I talk about how Jesus saved me, more people can relate to that experience.”
He also didn’t shy away from addressing the difficulties of marriage, which he agreed helped stabilize him. He shaded Kardashian’s short-lived marriage to NBA player Kris Humphries and also revealed that he reads the Bible before bed (while Kardashian watches “Dateline”) and that they want seven kids.
Kanye on marriage: pic.twitter.com/LDIzcTFpB0— 🎃 The Late Late Show with James Gore-den 👻 (@latelateshow) October 29, 2019
“People thought it would be uncool to be married. Then I got married and people are like, ‘Aw, that looks cool,’” West said. “It’s more than cool. It’s more than cool as hell or something. It’s heavenly. It’s great. It’s magnificent, and God is using me as a human being, as humbly as I can put it, he’s using me to show off.
“Last year, I made $115 million and still ended up $35 million in debt. This year, I looked up and I just got $68 million returned to me on my tax return. And people say, ‘Oh, don’t talk about these numbers.’ No, people need to hear someone [who] had been put into debt by the system talk about these kind of numbers now that they’re in service to Christ.”
Kanye West’s new album comes on the heels of prolonged displays of narcissism and an embrace of President Trump that have alienated many of his old fans.
West insisted that this rebirth is part of his success: “Now I get to work for God and he about to show out. Kanye West works for God.”
Corden, somewhat skeptical of West’s evangelism, also asked about the naysayers who don’t believe in West’s genuineness, to which West eventually concluded that “people who don’t believe are walking dead. They are asleep and this is the awakening.”
“I don’t know if it’s the plane, or the altitude, or just because we’re in the sky, but I am starting to feel closer to God,” Corden said.
It’s unclear whether Corden became a true believer in Yeezus after that. However, the most unbelievable part of the production — aside from the fact that they didn’t talk politics or West’s support for President Trump — was that the two men actually flew coach.
Inside the business of entertainment
The Wide Shot brings you news, analysis and insights on everything from streaming wars to production — and what it all means for the future.
You may occasionally receive promotional content from the Los Angeles Times.