“Dad? Can I have the Chick-fil-a song?”

My 4-year-old son, Peter, is referring to “Jesus Is King” by the artist formerly known as Kanye West. He believes the album begins with the third track, “Closed on Sunday,” which has been a favorite of my five sons as we drive to and from church on Sunday ever since I first played it for them about a year ago.

My Samuel sings along to the Sunday Choir on “Selah” and David chuckles at Kanye’s rhymes in “On God,” but Peter just soaks it all in in somber silence. Later in the week we’ll hear him singing to himself as he plays: “you’re my number one, with the le-mon-ade” syllabically matching Kanye’s voice.

Peter struggles with words. His frustration over not being able to communicate as he wishes or be understood by others predictably comes out in bursts of anger. It is hard not to take it personally. My mom and sister have been understandably taken aback by interactions with him when babysitting. It is not quite anger with others, but frustration with himself. Peter is sensitive and sweet and feels his surroundings very deeply; he just can’t seem to form his own words, so he repeats what he knows others have used in a similar context, or replays a fragment of an expression he thinks will suffice in communicating what he sees, feels, or thinks. This is a condition called “echolalia” where children learn to speak by echoing, and over time, piece the echos together to create their own speech.

This is perhaps why Peter connects with music. It gives him a broad array of clips to replay that attach words to emotion and experience. I find it fascinating that he connects with Ye’s recent music in particular, because like my Peter Elias, Ye does not feel understood. If anything, Ye’s intentions are wildly misunderstood.

The media portrayal of Ye’s behavior has caused many to believe that it is the product of a giant ego—PR under the guise of reality drama and an erratic mind that is somehow “ill.” We can see this in their treatment of his donning the red hat, the masks he wears in public, or the doubt and mockery cast at his Christian turn. There’s plenty more: his moving to Paris and his moving to Montana, his marrying Kim Kardashian and Kim divorcing him, his “old Kanye” music and the “new.” These wild swings of the pendulum are attributed to Ye’s mental health or business maneuvers. But most fail to see the story and the message of the man himself.

It has become a common, even memeable occurrence for Kanye to either fall stone silent or come out swinging in long, angry pontifications. But this is him in person as well. In Paris, he once played a track he was working on to his family entourage. His mother-in-law, Kris Jenner, politely said “great job, Kanye” to which he reacted with “‘Great job?!’” and then picking up a wine glass, “‘Great job’ Baccarat making this glass!”

In that same time period, Kanye was asked by a journalist to explain the meaning of the song, “I Am a God” that had been causing a minor public stir. He brazenly replied “because I am a god” and spoke no more, as if to shut down the conversation with someone who is clearly not understanding what he is saying in the song, or because he saw that the short, compact expression of a musical track was an imperfect way of describing what he ultimately wants to convey.

Kanye West during a performance wearing a diamond mask.

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Ye hates having to explain himself and thus explain his art, not because he does not wish to communicate, but because he so desperately does. His output—this entire performance called the Life of Ye—is an ever-expanding repertoire of music and fashion and theater and technology and architecture that is more than art: it is encoded communication. Far from being surface-level marketing ploys or deep-seated egomania, the communication comes from feeling profoundly and wanting others to feel the same. It is the artistic fire raging in your bones that you must let proceed forth. The medium will vary, but the very best art will always relay quiet, grand messages in seemingly miraculous deeds.

I wonder if this is why Ye has related over the years to the man known as Jesus of Nazareth, who said to the perplexed media elites of his day as He spoke in parables: "why do ye not understand my speech? even because ye cannot hear my word.”

The word is not cryptic and indiscernible to everyone. Jesus let His actions speak louder than His words, but He understood that only “those who have ears to hear” would be able to even recognize the communication. He was not seeking fame or wealth, but people who would emulate him.

Most of those experiencing an outward manifestation of genius are only paying attention to the output, not the person. The few find the “narrow way,” not because they want to see more miracles, but because they are drawn to the miracle-worker. As my namesake apostle replied to Jesus when He asked what he wanted from Him: “Master, where dwellest thou?”

The chronicle of the journeys of Ye shows that he too has sought those who would “get more” from him than simple enjoyment of his artistic output or sharing in the rewards of his business acumen. He seeks companions who would hear the message in the signal, see the man behind the masks, and want to follow in his footsteps by doing “greater works than these.” This is not unlike the genius named Jesus who gathered and taught an inner circle of twelve that He knew wanted to be with Him—not to gain fame or riches, He’s not interested in those either—but so they could be like Him.

It takes time for great things, whether they be ideas or projects, to unfold even before the work of actualizing them begins. Patience and compassion and effort are required, but as with any work there is reward. Ye does not ask his companions to stay with him forever, but rather to launch their own careers out of the creative kingdom, making new art and enterprises from what they experienced with their mentor. The successes of those in his entourage should be sufficient proof that something is working in the Kingdom of Ye.

Is this mania? Illness? Or simply the path of human greatness? It’s the relationship between artist and audience, teacher and student, mentor and mentee. We hear the music, and though the many enjoy and go their way, we few who want more will seek the source of the sound. And we echo.

Andrew Beck is Founding Partner at Beck & Stone and father to six children that he and his beloved wife now raise together in the great state of Texas.