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Critical Analysis of Kanye West’s “Sunday Service” Based on Attribution Theory

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Table of contents

  1. Kanye’s Sunday Service
  2. The Attribution Theory
  3. Correspondent Inference Theory
  4. Kelley’s Covariation Model
  5. Weiner’s Three-Dimensional Model
  6. Application of the Attribution Theory
  7. References

Kanye’s Sunday Service

Kanye West’s transformation story has been received differently among Christians and non-believers all over the world. Recently, the American-based hip-hop sensational took to the media to reveal the release of his ‘Jesus is King Album”, a step that shows his dedication to letting people understand more about God. Besides, he has used his weekly program identified as “Sunday Service” to compose, sing and preach the will of God to his followers. According to the 2004 revelation by Christianity Today, in his album “The College Dropout,” Kanye quoted Bible verses in some of the Godly lyrics. Christianity Today indicated that the pop star made a case for Jesus Christ before again dismissing Him through specific rhymes. This showed that despite being on God’s side, Kanye feels that he shouldn’t be there (Kate, 2019).

Many Christians around the world have been interested in understanding the association of the musician with God since he released “The College Dropout” album. People have created discussions online to discuss whether Kanye’s spiritual life is sincere or just an act for popularity gain. Others have sought to understand the reason behind the nickname “Yeezus” in most of his brands. Some of these dilemmas have compounded lately, and the shoe mogul remains adamant on other speculations.

Since the designer started his career, West has used the name of God and Jesus in most of his songs and shows. However, lately, the music sensational has increased his interest in Christianity, and used the “Sunday Service” to explain the work of the Supreme Being in his life and family (Kate, 2019). On a weekly basis, celebrities, friends, and family gather to praise His name through songs. Besides, Kanye has resorted to explaining the role of the Church in contemporary society, the importance of adherence to the Creator, and various passages in the Christian Holy Book.

According to one of the Christian writers, Cary Allred, it is hard to make a conclusion about Kanye’s spiritual position at the moment. However, it has been observed that the artist is currently an insider in religion. Also, although Kanye does not mix with the traditional congregations in churches, he holds outdoor meetings through which he has hosted preachers and other influential persons, including Pastor Carl Lentz and Rich Wilkerson.

In one of the cover stories published by Forbes about the musician’s “creative mind,” Kanye mentioned that the religious influence had impacted his business heavily. In a quote, the pop star stated that his endeavors have thrived due to the grace of God and his obedience to the Creator. Moreover, Kanye maintains that he was healed from a mental breakdown and bipolar disorder through God’s spiritual power.

According to him, he has had a great experience in recent years, starting from the birth of Psalm, Kanye’s fourth child. The naming of the newborn has been associated with the Bible books, and this reveals the spiritual nourishment the musician has received. In his statement, Kirk Franklin, a gospel artist, indicated that the Sunday Service had been a magnificent expression for Kanye’s spiritual journey (Kate, 2019). He also added that the pop star’s willingness to invest more time in Christian matters reveals the determination Kanye has for God’s work. Katherine Ajibade, a British think tank researcher, is one of the influential persons that have defended Kanye’s position in church matters. She notes that people should avoid speculating that the musician is dedicated to his Christian journey for career gain.

In Psalms 62, God promises human beings to perform good deeds so that they can get rewards from Him. Besides, in Mark 16, the Supreme Being commands people to get out there and preach the gospel to every creature. Perhaps, this is the work that Kanye West is accomplishing according to God’s directive in the Holy Book (Kate, 2019).

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In the social setting, people use different psychological approaches to learn the environment, to change their behavior, to explain diverse phenomena, process information, and also to get understood by others.

The Attribution Theory

Attribution refers to the judgment people make about the cause of others’ conduct. The attribution theory is a psychological approach that helps people to understand specific events or behaviors of others. It includes Kelley’s covariation, Weiner’s three-dimensional, and correspondent models. In his studies, Fritz Heider, the founder of the attribution theory, focused on understanding whether an individual’s conduct is caused by intrinsically or extrinsically. Heider maintains that behaviors result from motivation and capacity, which refer to the intentions to perform a certain act as well as the innate personal characteristics that cause the conduct (Harris et al., 2015).

Correspondent Inference Theory

According to this model developed by Keith Davis and Edward Jones, people tend to infer more about others when they behave in socially undesirable ways. This implies that humans, in most cases, avoid concluding about others’ internal motivation when they conduct themselves in responsible manners. For instance, if salespersons show friendliness while disseminating their services, their behavior is regarded as a job requirement, and therefore it would not be used to reveal their behavior. On the other hand, if the individual shows his or her irresponsibility in a specific social situation, people will tend to investigate the motivator.

Kelley’s Covariation Model

According to the founder, Harold Kelley, humans use three forms of information to determine others’ causes of motivation. Through consensus, people make decisions on the behavior of others based on the general population’s conduct. For instance, if many individuals display a specific trait, then the behavior cannot be used to determine the individual characteristics. Distinctiveness if another type of information that is used to judge personal behavior. For example, if an individual conducts themselves in a unique manner, then the trait can be used to understand their innate characteristics. Also, if a person’s behavior is inconsistent over time, this makes it is hard to determine their conduct. Kelley maintains that high levels of consistency, consensus, and distinctiveness make people attribute the behavior to the prevailing circumstances.

Weiner’s Three-Dimensional Model

According to the developer, Bernard Weiner, people understand the causes of specific behaviors by examining locus, stability, and controllability. These dimensions determine whether the specific conduct was a product of internal or external factors and also whether it will occur again. Controllability relates to the probability of an individual changing due to the outcome of the previous behavior. In his studies, Weiner maintains that people’s attributions have a great impact on their emotions. For instance, individuals are likely to get proud when they believe that their performance is linked to their talent and not luck. However, according to analysts, the attribution theory involves various errors that limit its reliability. They include the tendency of judging innate characteristics through personal traits and bias (Harris et al., 2015).

Application of the Attribution Theory

The model explains why individuals have provided different judgments on his decisions and what might have motivated his behavior. For a section of Christians, the musician is using the “Sunday Service” to develop his music career. Besides, the star’s transformation has caught the attention of many people around the world because it is not common for hip-hop music performers to turn into pastors. According to the correspondent inference theory, people shift their interest to issues that are considered undesirable by others. For the approval of the concept that is presented by the model, it is true that some of Christians have condemned Kanye’s Sunday services because they just promote feelings through songs, but they lack the sermon. Through Davis and Jones’s approach, it is evident that more people are focusing on analyzing and investigating Kanye’s source of motivation for his actions.

The attribution theory has helped me to understand why people have different perspectives on Kanye West’s “Sunday Service.” According to Kelley’s Covariation Model, when people behave in a manner that is distinct from others’ conduct, their traits are used to attribute their innate characteristics. Kanye’s behavior is unique, and this is the reason why many people have used his action to conclude that the musician has a great attachment to God, who has given him grace. It is prudent to note that the “Sunday Service” initiative is more popular because people hardly expected the musician who glorified the devil to start preaching the word of God.


  1. Eberly, M. B., Holley, E. C., Johnson, M. D., & Mitchell, T. R. (2017). Beyond internal and external: A dyadic theory of relational attributions. Academy of Management Review, 36(4), 731-753.
  2. Harris, L. T., Todorov, A., & Fiske, S. T. (2015). Attributions on the brain: neuro-imaging dispositional inferences, beyond theory of mind. Neuroimage, 28(4), 763-769.
  3. Kate, S. (2019). Has Kanye Lost His Jesus Complex And Found Christ?. Christianity Today. Retrieved From Https://Www.Christianitytoday.Com/Ct/2019/July-Web-Only/Kanye-West-Sunday-Services-Jesus-Walks-Christian-Faith.Html

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Critical Analysis of Kanye West’s “Sunday Service” Based on Attribution Theory. (2022, September 27). Edubirdie. Retrieved September 25, 2023, from
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Critical Analysis of Kanye West’s “Sunday Service” Based on Attribution Theory. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 25 Sept. 2023].
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