JESUS IS KING Album Review


Kanye West leads one of his Sunday Service performances before the release of his album “JESUS IS KING”. Photo courtesy of Getty Images for ABA. Creator: Kevin Winter.

Austin Vance

Staff Writer

        After months of waiting, Kanye West has finally dropped his highly anticipated, ninth studio album JESUS IS KING. After countless delays, it seemed as though fans may never be able to hear the record, but it has finally come. JESUS IS KING is unlike any of Kanye’s previous projects, mixing elements of hip-hop and gospel to create a Sunday service like experience. While it may not be his best project, it’s still an experience worth listening to.

        While much of his discography contains and addresses religious messages, this is Kanye’s first entirely religious album. The project is essentially a public journal of Kanye’s relationship with Christianity that has been written over the last 15 years of his career. He talks about his struggles and newfound understandings in the short but concise 27 minute run time. Fans of Kanye may be surprised to hear that he made sure that there were no explicit lyrics on the album, which is something he has never done before, but this does run consistent with the Christian theme.

        Even with this recent style of sub-30 minute albums, Kanye still manages to impress and keep his listeners entertained for the entire length of JESUS IS KING. The sample of the 1974 Christian soul tune on “Follow God” is turned into a catchy beat that Kanye effortlessly flows over. “Closed on Sunday” is a Chick-Fil-A metaphor for his wife Kim Kardashian which ends up turning out pretty good, if not slightly comedic. 

        Other standout tracks include “On God” and “Use This Gospel” which are very reminiscent of Kanye’s 2013 “Yeezus”. “Water” is a gospel masterpiece with smooth and entrancing production that holds your attention the whole time. Senior Daniel Cronin says, “I love this album. I really like the production and how it’s different than most hip-hop today. My favorite songs are “On God” and “Closed on Sunday” because they remind me of my favorite parts of Kanye.”

       Expecting Kanye to get it perfect on his first try is a bit unrealistic, especially because this gospel endeavor is so different than his usual rap. While JESUS IS KING is filled with moments of Kanye genius, is does have its shortcomings. “Selah” and “God Is” are examples of said shortcomings. 

       “God Is” doesn’t quite work out the way Kanye probably intended, as his vocal performance leaves much to be desired. “Selah” starts out with epic production, but loses steam when Kanye himself begins to rap. These songs aren’t bad by any stretch of the imagination, but do lack in quality compared to his older works, especially because the album itself is so short. Senior Justin Tran says, “I really like most of the songs, but my least favorites are “Selah” and “Jesus is Lord” because they just aren’t really long and don’t say much.”.

        Sophomore Elliot Poffenberger says, “I thought the album wasn’t really that good. I’m not a big gospel fan so it didn’t really appeal to me.” Elliot is not in the minority when it comes to this opinion. Junior Luca Marinelli says, “I do not like gospel music that much so I thought the album was pretty bad.” 

        In his ninth studio album release, Kanye has produced something many would never have thought he would consider making yet here we are. In 2019, Kanye is not nearly the same man he was at the beginning of his career, and much of his change in relation to religion is documented here.  For the most part, JESUS IS KING succeeds in its attempt to be hip-hop – gospel crossover but falls a little short of being considered a great album. It gets a 7 out of 10.