Kanye’s twisted religious fantasy: a Jesus is King review

The arrival of Kanye’s new album comes as a surprise to many as the rapper announced he ‘was leaving secular music behind and only making gospel from now on’

It is important to understand that gospel music is not like any other. It is not about the beat or production but the message and how it connects you with God. An artist’s relationship with God is the make or break of the music. 

Unfortunately, Jesus is King has not been received as well as Kanye’s previous works such as ye and Kids See Ghosts with Kid Cudi.  

Kanye’s dubious conversion is visible throughout this album. He says he is a ‘radically saved man’ however ‘faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead’. Yet he seems to have nothing to show for it, both on this album and within his personal life. 

The album is less than 30 minutes long but seems to leave a sense of confusion throughout. Even though the album attempts to claim Jesus is King, Kanye appears to be the focus of it. The album comes with fewer features than ye and doesn’t include a single female solo voice within it.  

On the production side of it, it doesn’t feel like a Kanye album at all. It is not daring and doesn’t push any boundaries much like his previous albums. Tracks such as Ghost Town from ye could have easily become a rock anthem, even though it is classed as hip hop. Whereas this album is frankly quite dull, almost played safely, with nothing new to it. It is not up to the standard which Kanye normally delivers.

 On God shows the disconnect between the lyrics and the production around it. The song talks about how God transformed Kanye’s life, but this feeling of redemption is not achieved. Instead, it feels more like the soundtrack to Blade Runner or any other sci-fi film.  

Kanye West Jesus Is King Painting II (LA Apparel Promo) Crewneck White

The song also talks about how Kanye supports his family by charging extremely high prices on his products and concert tickets. The new merch for this album costs between £55 to £783 so far.  

Despite trying to build affordable housing, or though this fell through when he failed to secure permits, as well as donating $1 million to charity, the rapper’s net worth still climbs as high as $240 million. This makes him the richest hip-hop artist in the game and combined with his wife Kim they are worth $500 million, according to Forbes. 

Getty Images 2014

 If you are a follower of Jesus, you know He said, ‘it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God’.  

Kanye West

The song Closed on Sunday only adds more confusion by praising Chick-fil-a, an American chain restaurant known for its support of organizations which oppose same-sex marriages.  

The Pastor that ministers Kanye’s Sunday Service comes from Placerita Bible Church, a church that also condemns same-sex relationships and women in leadership of the church, where only white males get the roles. 

Adam Tyson, senior pastor of Placerita Bible Church 

The album makes an attempt to unite hip hop with gospel music. This challenge has previously been achieved by artists such as Stormzy in Blinded by Your Grace, Pt. 2 and Chance The Rapper in Blessings. 

In these songs, both artists can convey the feeling of salvation and redemption without abandoning hip hop or compromising the core of gospel music. In their personal lives it is possible to identify some Christian works unlike Kanye.  

Stormzy was recently praised for his scholarship that has put 91 black students in Cambridge University, bringing in a total of above 200 in the university.  

Stormzy with some of his scholarship students

Chance The Rapper is a major charity figure in Chicago, the same city that Kanye is from. He has several social programs in place such as his own charity SocialWorks, a youth empowerment charity that has resulted in millions of dollars raised to fund Chicago Public Schools. 

The Bible says that you can’t serve two masters at the same time and for Kanye, his master will always be his ego. This “conversion” is distraction to excuse his past behaviours and tap into a new market. The Sunday services and this album are just ways to make Christianity lucrative to him.

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