Controversy and Kanye West are a commonality at this point in his career. After last year’s drama surrounding the nonexistent release of his album “Yandhi” and the constant substitution of release dates on his newest work, West finally released his newest album “Jesus Is King” on Oct. 25.
“Jesus Is King” missed multiple alleged release dates as tweeted out by West’s wife Kim Kardashian, starting as early as Sep. 24. The album was then further postponed from the drop time of midnight on Oct. 25 until later that afternoon due to mix issues on three of the album’s tracks, according to West’s tweet.
West’s ninth studio album “Jesus Is King” matches the high caliber production of his previous works but is overshadowed by his reckless personality and uncertainty as an artist. Lyrically, the album fails.
In essence, “Jesus Is King” is a short-lived devout journey. The project has a disappointing runtime of just over 27 minutes. The expert production and harmonious gospel melodies provide divine musical ideas overall, but the album could use improvement with transitions and the length of the project in general.
The track “Follow God” unveils a clever flipped sample of The Whole Truth’s song “Can You Lose By Following God.” West utilizes the gospel-influenced hip-hop track to discuss the way he chooses to display his life to the public and the influence God has on his behavior. Towards the end of the track, West reenacts an argument with his father about whether his actions are “Christ-like.”
“West’s ninth studio album ‘Jesus Is King’ matches the high caliber production of his previous works but is overshadowed by his reckless personality and uncertainty as an artist. ”
West then moves on to the much slower paced track “Closed on Sunday,” with no transition in between. “Closed on Sunday” provides a sincere guitar strum pattern followed by orchestrated hums. The track references the sabbath day of the week in the Christian religion and refers to the famous fast-food chain Chick-Fil-A, which follows this commonplace practice by closing their restaurants on Sundays. The track displays a weird lyrical and spiritual combination that seems to lack substance.
The other nine tracks on “Jesus Is King” follow the same pattern of spirituality through heavy, religious lyrical content and talk on God’s influence on West’s life. The album helps present a newfound version of West which can be seen through his strange, high-energy Sunday Services which put religion on a platform by way of theatrical musical performances where he is the centerpiece. But certain moments in the album exhibit the constant controversy that surrounds West.
In the track “On God,” West makes a reference to 13th Amendment in which he made previous controversial remarks about in a series of tweets in 2018. During this time, West had said that slavery was a choice. This statement outraged the African American community. His reference to the historical issue in “On God” declared that he is responsible for ending the amendment as it still presents the loophole of unpaid labor. West also spits lines referencing Donald Trump and the backlash he received for supporting him through his time in office.
“Jesus Is King” contains features from West Coast rapper Ty Dolla $ign, the brother hip-hop duo Clipse, R&B singer Ant Clemons, gospel vocalist Fred Hammond and jazz saxophonist Kenny G. Production-wise. West collaborated with numerous producers including Pi’erre Bourne, Ronny J and Timbaland to name a few.
“Jesus Is King” is not an inadequate project by any means, it is just underwhelming. Through his newest album and IMAX Documentary on the project, West makes it clear that he is still a creative and influential director in terms of his music. However, West’s questionable larger-than-life persona and faulty decision-making process may give way to his eventual downfall. Unfortunately with West, there is no way to detach his persona from his work.
In a two hour interview on Beats 1 with Zane Lowe the day prior to the release of “Jesus Is King,” West stated that he is “unquestionably, undoubtedly, the greatest human artist of all time.” Following his radical claim, he then joked about wearing the “Make America Great Again” hat in support of Trump and how it was “God’s practical joke to all liberals.” These were just some of many bold, contentious statements from the “greatest human artist of all time” who couldn’t deliver an album on its intended release date.
In the same interview, West announced that his next album “Jesus Is Born” is set to release on Christmas Day of this year. But until Christmas comes, that is left up for debate.
Contact CU Independent Staff Writer Benny Titelbaum at firstname.lastname@example.org.