“Jesus is King” review
November 14, 2019
The long wait is over. Kanye West postponed the release of his new album, “Jesus is King,” multiple times over the past few months, but he finally released it this Oct. 25. Myself, a diehard Kanye fan, awaited this moment. Kanye continues to be a part of my music library, and that library has grown with this new drop.
His flamboyant musical style never ceases to amaze me. Kanye’s debut album, “The College Dropout,” developed authentic, soulful music. Then, he surprised everyone by jumping to electronic music in his “808s and Heartbreak” album. No one complained, as all of his music is outstanding. Kanye expanded my music taste to electronic, soul, pop, and now something no one would expect.
Kanye introduced his spin of Christian rap.
I love the unique style Kanye develops in his new album; this form of Christian rap surprised me, as it is something enjoyably new. The gospel choir and strong verses are excitingly fresh compared to his former music. Kanye does something with this album that no other modern rapper successfully accomplishes: he portrays his preaching in a way that appeals to both religious and non-religious listeners. His preaching may become cumbersome to some listeners in “Water,” in which he speaks multiple lines promoting Jesus, but I feel as though his humor and message help to balance this out.
Although the album has great features, there are a few outstanding problems. The standout issue of the album is the length. At roughly 30 minutes, the album doesn’t offer enough to truly convey his message of spreading Jesus. It continues the trend of short Kanye albums, as seen in regard to “Kids See Ghosts” and “Ye,” Kanye’s recent albums, but in doing so it simply seems unfinished. The message in the album develops strongly, but I feel as though Kanye’s message would be stronger with a few more songs that conclude his claims of Jesus in the album.
This new form of Kanye, however, sticks out to me in these songs:
“Follow God” The phenomenal, speedy beat helps give his lyrics true meaning. By far the best jam on this album, and I am a fan of these jams. Only around two minutes long, one may complain of the length, but this actually improves the song; the beat would become repetitive. Overall, the song speaks of following God, and how Kanye enlightened himself with God. I believe the beat and this meaning form together to form my favorite song on “Jesus Is King.”
“On God” The electronic, quick beat reminds fans of previously mentioned “808s and Heartbreak.” This improves the song greatly, as electronic is some of my favorite Kanye. He speaks of things that are very true, which is said to be quote, “On God.” The song stands out, and is the second best song on this album.
“Everything We Need” This song, featuring Ty Dolla Sign, is a hype song. The use of “woo” to start the beat makes way for strong lyrics. A few elements of 2000s pop also appear in this song. The use of synths in the song again prove Kanye’s purpose of Jesus being his savior.
Although I don’t believe Kanye’s album will actively promote conversions to Christianity, it grabs the audience in with engaging songs and interesting writing. All of the songs are different, and I believe that “Jesus is King” is an above average album.
Is Jesus or Kanye king?
I know it’s rare, but I’m not a Kanye West fan. I thought the praise he got was a bit much and so I never bothered listening to him. I mean, I’d occasionally bust down to “American Boy,” but doesn’t everyone? However, I decided to give West a chance by listening to one of his albums for the first time, “Jesus is King.” I’m still not a fan. After digging around through this album, I became sus. Something just didn’t sit right with me, and it’s because I’m a life-long Christian.
“Jesus is King,” seems more like a praise to Kanye, rather than praise to God, and a way to regain the trust of the Black community. Before you Yeezy fans get your pitchforks, hear me out.
In an interview with Zane Lowe, Kanye expressed his new found faith in God by saying, “Now that I’m in service to Christ, my job is to spread the gospel, to let people know what Jesus has done for me.” My question to West is, would you still have that same faith if you didn’t have the “Power” and riches? Take a look at Televangelists, an (usually self-proclaimed) evangelist preacher that goes on television to preach and usually ask for funds. They’re rich and using God for power. West is no different from them. He holds church services that are exclusive, don’t have any sermons, and either play his music or play Christianized versions of secular music. Jesus wasn’t partying with the rich. He wasn’t profiting off of being the savior, like West’s profiting off of his new-found faith in God, just like these preachers do. I’m worried the way people blindly follow these preachers is how they’ll follow West. I’m worried their belief in God will be based on the words of West, rather than true faith in God.
I’d believe West, but the man has called himself “Yeezus,” and according to Pitchfork, he still refers to himself as “the greatest artist restin’ or alive.” That’s a bit egotistical, which doesn’t exactly follow the preachings of Christianity.
But, let’s say his new-found faith is genuine, the use of the black church as a vessel for this message is strange.
West’s relationship with the black community shattered due to his devotion to Donald Trump and his “Slavery was a choice,” comment made at the TMZ headquarters; however, he still profits off the culture through his use of black gospel churches and services. According to an article by the Washington Post, West is taking advantage of the fact that the black church will forgive anyone and he can use their forgiveness until he no longer needs it. He’s making black churches trendy and forgetting the true importance of them being a mecca for hope and inclusion.
Sonically, “Jesus is King,” is phenomenal and almost made me a fan, but if West’s faith was genuine, it wouldn’t have been as public. He would’ve truly changed his actions, he would’ve apologized, reflected, done acts of service, but that hasn’t happened yet. But only time will tell.