American rapper Kanye West has recently dropped his ninth studio album, “Jesus is King,” where we get to hear a gospel twist on his usual rap music. In the past, West has used his lyrics to send a message to his fans and provide a closer look into his life. In “Jesus is King,” West utilizes his belief in God and Jesus to spread his message and reveal how religion has changed his life for the better.
West has stirred a number of controversies throughout his career. He has flipped out during concerts and is still today receiving heavy backlash for once targeting a race in the media. In this album, West tries to show how his belief in God and Jesus has changed him and how he is now on the right path.
For the past couple of months, West has been leading a “Sunday service,” or service of worship, which includes a rap-gospel choir singing for hours on end. This is part of the reason for his new album’s direction, as each song contains different aspects of gospel. In the past, West has had this type of music on his album “Life of Pablo,” but not to this extent.
West dropped the album on Oct. 26, a month after the expected date. West’s last solo album “Ye,” was his eighth studio album and was released in June of last year. This last album was extremely dark, so “Jesus is King” acts as a total 180, due to its upbeat and happy vibe.
The album opens up with the song “Every Hour,” featuring the Sunday Service Choir, which perfectly sets up the rest of the album. It’s no surprise that this feature was on the album since West has been invested in his Sunday Service the entire year. The Service Choir sings throughout the entire song, describing how singing is a great way to reach the Lord.
Two songs later we come to the track “Closed on Sunday,” which has become notorious for its memetic verse, Closed on Sunday / You my Chick-fil-A / You’re my number one / With the lemonade. This song speaks about raising the youth to follow in Jesus’ footsteps. Whether you’re religious or not, the notoriety still stems from its Chick-fil-A line. This makes the song’s message, which is otherwise quite valid, hard to take seriously.
Hearing West rap and sing, backed up by gospel music, is a totally new spin. It has brought a very different response from both Kanye’s fans and the larger music world. Whether the audience likes the genre collision or not, people can still respect West’s craft, especially on the song “Water” featuring Ant Clemons.
Clemons features in two songs on this album, “Water” and “Everything We Need.” Clemons recently made waves in the media, as he revealed that while trying to make a name for himself, he has been forced to sleep on his friend’s floor. West wanted to get Clemons’ music out there and put him in these roles, specifically to help him out but also because of how his voice sounds with the gospel background.
If anyone was confused as to what message West wanted to spread on this album, his last song, “Jesus is Lord,” will sum it up in a short 49-second track. West repeats twice throughout the song, “Every knee shall bow, every tongue confess, Jesus is Lord,” solidifying the religious message of the album.
Although West has been on top of the music world, his personal life has been rough, particularly due to suffering from bipolar disorder. There have been many ups and downs along the way for West, so to see a joyous album from him, despite his circumstances, is nice to see. No matter your religion, understanding where he is coming from is a must for music fans, and especially West fans.
In an interview with Zane Lowe on radio station Beats 1, West claims to be dropping another album on Christmas titled “Jesus is Born.” Fans are skeptical, however, since West stated he was dropping an album called “Yandhi” at the beginning of this year, and never actually released it.
This new drive West has to make his fans proud is very rare, but he seems to feel satisfied and greatly accomplished. This album shows West’s versatility as an artist and leaves listeners wondering what will come next.