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Kanye West: Does Jesus walk…

like a 'Rolling Stone?'
 
 
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Outspoken ("Bush doesn't care about black people") rapper Kanye West poses as Jesus Christ -- complete with crown of thorns atop his head -- on the cover of the new issue of Rolling Stone , which comes out tomorrow.

This brash brand of posturing should be nothing shocking for people familiar with West (which means, um, most Americans who avoid living under rocks); he's always been fond of dramatic, media-savvy PR stunts, which have done nothing but boost his career. It doesn't hurt that he's super-talented, too.

And part of West's appeal is that he knows he's talented, and he's far from shy about screaming it from the rooftops. Or in this case, the pages of Rolling Stone , wherein he proclaims immodestly (but honestly): "In America, they want you to accomplish these great feats, to pull off these David Copperfield-type stunts…You want me to be great, but you don't ever want me to say I'm great?"

The RS story is also rumored to be…um…noteworthy because West announces a proclivity (sorry -- an "addiction") for porn.

Predictably, though, religious leaders aren't keen on the mag. The cover art, specifically. On one conservative website, a user fumed, " Rolling Stone 's theology is interesting: they're tongue-in-cheek about Jesus and genuflect under the ashes of dope fiend Hunter S. Thompson."

But West seems to bask in the controversy. Back in August, around the same time he made those famous "Bush/black people" comments during a live Katrina-relief telethon, West garnered attention for his frank discussion of homophobia in the rap world (and America at large). His feelings about gay folks changed, he claimed, after a cousin came out of the good ol' proverbial closet: "It was kind of like a turning point when I was like, 'Yo, this is my cousin. I love him and I've been discriminating against gays.'"

Kanye also noted that gay-bashing is a problem that everyone -- not just rappers -- needs to address: "Not just hip-hop, but America just discriminates. And I wanna just, to come on TV and just tell my rappers, just tell my friends, 'Yo, stop it.'"

Agreed.

Laura Barcella is AlterNet's front page editor.