After news came out that Chris Brown and Frank Ocean got into a fight over a parking spot yesterday, and most folks in the media were pointing their fingers at CB, the R&B singer did what he usually does when sh*t gets real: he hopped on Instagram and posted various melodramatic pictures.
There was one pic that stood out over the other ones, however. The R&B singer, who is also an avid painter, posted a picture of a painting he did, which showed Jesus being crucified.
He attached this caption to the pic:
“Painting the way I feel today. Focus on what matters!”
(Pretty nifty painting, CB.)
It seems like what Brown is implying is that he’s being unfairly crucified by us, the media, and you nasty folks on Twitter.
We always find it interesting when pop stars use images of Jesus in their work, considering how controversial it could be.
So we decided to dig up more examples of some of our favorite hip-pop celebrities invoking Jesus.
Madonna’s “Like a Prayer Video”
After taking three years off to explore acting opportunities, Madonna returned to the pop music realm with the most controversial song and video of her career: “Like a Prayer.” The video, which has an anti-racism theme, features jarring images of a black Jesus and burning crosses.
Soundgarden’s “Jesus Christ Pose” video
Obviously there was no YouTube back in 1991, so if you wanted to see Soundgarden’s amazing video for “Jesus Christ Pose” you were out of luck. MTV deemed the video controversial and banned it from its airwaves.
The image that stands out the most features a woman being crucified. In a press release Soundgarden put out at the time, the band’s lead singer, Chris Cornell, said:
“It was a pretty unanimous decision by the band to have a woman being crucified in the video…As a visual, it’s powerful and it’s also challenging to people, because women basically have been persecuted since before recorded history, and it would almost make more sense than seeing a man on it.”
Tupac’s The Don Killuminati: The 7 Day Theory cover
Tupac’s last official album, The Don Killuminati: The 7 Day Theory, was released just eight weeks after the legendary rapper was shot and killed. The LP’s cover and the fact that the project was called The 7 Day Theory helped spark the idea that Pac was still alive and that he would one day make his return to the rap game.
Big Pun’s Last Supper
Featured in the booklet of Big Pun’s classic debut album Capital Punishment is one of our favorite hip-hop pics of all time. It features Pun and his Terror Squad homies sitting at a large table eating Chinese food. The pic is an exact copycat of the famous Jesus’ Last Supper painting from Leonardo da Vinci.
Nas’ “Hate Me Now” video
Nas’ “Hate Me Now” video is one of the few times we could think of when a music video got a rap star into legal trouble. Back in ’99, Diddy, who’s featured on the track, went ballistic after Nas premiered a version of the “Hate Me Now” video that featured Puff being crucified on the cross. Diddy wanted that edited out of the video and when he saw that it wasn’t, he took his anger out on Nas’ manger at the time, Steve Stoute. Puffy stormed his office and hit Stoute over the head with a bottle. Stoute sued Puff and two ended up settling out of court.
The “Passion of Kanye West” Rolling Stone cover
You could make the argument that “Jesus Walks” was the first song that really let people know Kanye West was special. That’s why it was no surprise when, on the eve of the 2006 Grammys, Rolling Stone rolled out a cover where Kanye took the form of Jesus. Right after the cover was released, Kanye would win the Best Rap Album award at that Grammys.
Lady Gaga’s “Judas” video
Lady Gaga is the closest thing we got to Madonna in 2013. So it doesn’t surprise anyone whenever she releases something provocative, like she did with her 2011 smash “Judas.” The video for “Judas” stands out because we see a wicked Lady Gaga turning out Jesus.
A$AP Ferg’s “Hundred Million Roses” video
One of the rawest rap videos of last year came from A$AP Ferg. The video was for his street anthem, “One Hundred Million Roses.” The first half of the video is your typical ’90s-inspired rap video, featuring Ferg and his boys in the streets, sipping champagne.
Then, when the second verse hits, we see Ferg being crucified like Jesus. This video stands out because of how graphic the scene is. We’re not exactly sure what it all means, but we know it looks pretty cool.
The Game’s Jesus Piece Album Cover
Right Wing Conservatives — most notably Michelle Malkin — threw a fit when The Game released the artwork for his latest album, Jesus Piece. The cover features a dark skinned Jesus Christ rocking a Jesus piece.
The album was named after a song which features Common and Kanye West.
Nicki Minaj’s “Freedom” video
In the beginning of “Freedom” Nicki Minaj raps:
“They never thank me for opening doors, but they ain’t even thank Jesus when he died on the cross.”
Those opening bars set the tone for the song and the video that accompanied it. There are various religious images in the “Freedom” video, including a boat, which looks a lot like Noah’s Arc, a cross, and a crown made up of thorns, which Nicki rocks throughout.