In the prophecy, it goes like this.
In the beginning, there was Ziggy Stardust, and Ziggy Stardust was with David Bowie, and David Bowie was Ziggy Stardust.
There was a man sent from David Bowie, and his name was Kanye West.
Yes, there is a somewhat in jest, slightly in earnest, wholly hopeful shared belief that David Bowie is God or Jesus or otherwise some kind of all-knowing, ethereal moon being (note: that last part is not unlikely), and that he prophesied the coming of Kanye West (note: that part is unlikely).
Bowie floating in a Heaven He Made Himself is not an idea that began Sunday night, when he died after a secret 18-month battle with cancer. The Good Word has been percolating around the Internet since at least 2007.
But it’s certainly a comforting thought, that the rock star who sang for those uncomfortable on Earth might be the one calling the shots up above.
And here’s the best part: Just like any decent cult, all of its believers think they were the first and only true believers.
First, however, let’s explain how Kanye West got involved.
The scripture begins on the cover of David Bowie’s seminal rock opera The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars, released on June 6, 1972. You’ll see Bowie in heavy saturation, leg perched on a railing. Above his head, like a beacon, glows a gold sign that wasn’t actually gold, colorized hot from a black-and-white photo.
On it, there’s the only legible text in the shot. In bold, capital letters, it reads: K. West.
K. West, by the way, was a furrier on Heddon Street in London, where the picture was shot. (It was not the flagship store for Kanye’s pre-gestation clothing line.)
But that’s not why people believe he’s the heir to Bowie’s tin can. That, by itself, wouldn’t be enough. Here is why you at least have to hear them out.
To start, for two reasons, go turn on Ziggy Stardust.
Reason No. 1: There is no reason not to turn on Ziggy Stardust.
No. 2: Look at the title or sing the chorus of the first song on that album. “Five Years.”
Five years and two days after the release of that song, which is about the apocalypse that will come after that precise amount of time, it happened:
On June 8, 1977, Kanye West was born. Yeezus had risen.
Thirty-six years later, he’d write a song called “I Am a God” on an album called Yeezus. But the church of the Holy Trinity of Ziggy and Bowie and Yeezy came long before that.
“Kanye who is from this picture [is] obviously the Jesus of the music industry.”
So begins a blog post from 2007 by Blogspot user P-Ephrine. The picture in question is Kanye wearing a crown of thorns on the cover of Rolling Stone.
“Now what me and my associate have come to answer is what Kanye will bring and how David Bowie predicted the coming of Kanye West,” P-Ephrine writes.
“Why else would he be under a sign that says that if he wasn’t proclaiming the coming of Kanye who came and is going to save us from our sins? Maybe Kanye is the second coming?” P-Ephrine theorizes.
Like any half-baked idea, the blog was abandoned a month later.
But like any half-baked idea on the Internet, this puppy had legs.
In 2014, a Reddit user named billmeister123 posited the same theory, this time without the religiosity. He called it “David Bowie predicted Kanye West” and, naturally, he posted it to a section called /r/ShittyFanTheories.
“This is the best ShittyFanTheory I've ever seen,” wrote one user.
Then another chimed in.
“Oh god. This is almost believable. Beyond here madness lies."
But something like this would never make it into the newspaper, right?
“It’s just one of these things that everybody knew but nobody had taken the time to write down,” said Alistair Coleman, who got it put in the newspaper.
“When you see the name of it floating above his head, you think there’s got to be a link.”
Coleman, who’s a national security reporter in the U.K., lobbed the theory on his blog as a joke just last year. On his blog, he diagrams the whole Ziggy Stardust cover, with a fat, yellow arrow pointing to Bowie that says “Prophet.” He says he didn’t even notice the birthday part until his wife told him later. (“I’ve not got much of [Kanye’s]… product,” he said.) She let him know: Almost five years apart, save for a brief delay.
“I think Kanye was just two days late to being born,” he told The Daily Beast. “It happens.”
The Irish Mirror picked up on it two days after he posted his theory, but the paper took the fun, dystopian route.
“Has the apocalypse already begun?” the Mirror asked. “Apparently so.”
But now Bowie’s gone and the world’s still here.
Coleman, reached at his home on Monday, said he’d been talking to people all day about how Bowie’s death “hit people very, very hard” and that “people have been sort of devastated by it.”
“My sister introduced me to Bowie,” he said. “Despite her actually trying to kill me a few times, her [introducing me] meant a lot to me.”
So even if—against all odds—Kanye isn’t the prophet, Coleman is still holding out hope that Bowie was at least a little otherworldly or divine. Because, to him, it still feels like it.
“I’m hoping this will go onto become a pretty much mainstream conspiracy theory. We all know Bowie’s from space anyway,” he said, laughing. “He’s from Mars. Today, he’s just gone back there.”