After not showing up at midnight, Kanye West has in fact actually released his new album Jesus Is King. This attempt at rap gospel, West is certainly taking a very different direction with this record. He is your preacher now, for better or for worse. But is a credible preacher? Well, maybe not.
God has been a consistent theme in his music over the years, whether it is praising god or chronicling his fight with devilish forces. Now Jesus Is King goes full preacher with this album. He reportedly told artists they had to abstain from pre-marital sex while recording this album, which there is no chance happened.
There are a few types of Christian preachers: the grifters, the hypocrites, those who use the bible as a way to justify their bigotry and those who actually channel Jesus Christ’s message of love and forgiveness to do good in the world. Yeezy is a disciple of the Donald, so that would put him among the first three, but he may still be some good intentions behind it, maybr. He also is unapologetic about getting his money, rapping in “On God,” “That's why I charge the prices that I charge / I can't be out here dancin' with the stars / No, I cannot let my family starve / I go hard, that's on God.”
He is also very into abolishing the 13th amendment, which freed slaves, but then constitutionalized treated incarcerated people as slaves. He has spoken about this in the past, showing love to a MAGA hat in the process. He mentions the amendment on “On God,” noting it isn’t god’s will, “Thirteenth amendment, God it ain’t it, that’s a reason” and then again on “Hands On,” rapping “Got pulled over, see the brights, What you doin' on the street at night?, Wonder if they're gonna read your rights, Thirteenth Amendment, three strikes.”
There are a few songs that could be considered bangers as he crosses between straight up gospel and hip-hop. “Closed On Sunday” goes pretty big and should move some non-Christians to Chick-Fil-A before the synth heavy, sort of trap banger “On God.”
The beat on “Use This Gospel” is pretty damn annoying since it sounds like a put your seatbelt on beep. By and large the album is dedicated to God, Jesus and parts of the bible. It blends gospel and hip-hop, swaying from one end of the spectrum to the other without losing touch of either. The choir parts on the album may be the best parts of this short project, taking it to church in a real way.
He can get pretty preachy throughout the project, claiming god is the solution to our problems. Whether or not he can actually hold up to those standards or is just monetizing Jesus is another thing. Kanye West has always been quite polarizing from his monstrous ego, to his deep love of Donald Trump, but this about face to Jesus may compete with all of that. It is going to take more then one album to become an official disciple of Jesus. Get your copy in various formats here.
Also check out the full credits via Pitchfork because there are A LOT of them.