Kanye West’s album “Jesus is King” is 27 minutes in heaven

West’s newest gospel-inspired project shows a transformation of his work

Anish Vasudevan

Rapper Kanye West quite literally blessed his fans with “Jesus is King,” his latest gospel-inspired album that dropped on Oct. 25.

The release of the album was long-awaited since West intended to release a project titled “Yandhi” in September 2018. Since then, the rapper has been putting his time into what he calls “Sunday Service,” a weekly gathering of his family, friends and people from the community in which he performs some of his most famous songs with a gospel twist.

West said in an interview on Jimmy Kimmel Live that his inspiration for the album came from God, who he felt told him to create the album in the past year. On the second track, “Saleh,” West says, “Everybody wanted ‘Yandhi’, then Jesus Christ did the laundry,” demonstrating how West scrapped his old work in order to follow his new path which was this project. Even though some of his songs in the past, such as “Jesus Walks” or “Father Stretch My Hands Pt. 1,” have made references to Christianity in their lyrics or titles faith, with this project, West has seemingly shifted his whole career into making solely Christian rap songs.

This shift is apparent on every track of the album, except for “Closed On Sunday,” which was my least favorite song of the project. The first line of the song after an enticing guitar introduction rolls in, “Closed on Sunday, you my Chick-fil-A” implying that this hypothetical person is unavailable on Sundays. Later on, he says, “You’re my number one, with the lemonade,” which probably just means that he enjoys this person as much as a meal at Chick-fil-A.

The lyrics sound like something a four-year-old would have written for a music class and had their mom showcase it on Facebook. As an avid fan of West, I think the fact that West really made a legitimate song dedicated to a mere fast food establishment illustrates a lack of creativity on his part.

However, besides the two minutes and thirty second travesty that is “Closed on Sunday,” the production of the album was outstanding. When I listened to “Water” for the first time, I had the sudden urge to get out of my seat and start dancing. The use of the saxophone, a more natural sound, in “Use this Gospel” and the brass instruments in the final song “Jesus is Lord” showcased maturation from West’s last project “KIDS SEE GHOSTS” which consisted mostly of synthesizers.

Even though West is titled a rapper, some of the songs from “Jesus is King” possessed production that is common among pop songs, resulting in an album that spans multiple genres and entices music fans from all walks of life. Staying true to his rapping origins, though, West utilized autotune on tracks such as “Everything We Need” and “Hands On” which didn’t disrupt the flow of the song. Throughout the album, it seemed like the lyrics and production complimented each other perfectly and made a complete sound.

Ultimately, “Jesus is King” is stellar not because of its production—it is stellar because it brought to light a number of new artists, such as Ant Clemons, and showcase numerous other established and reputable artists. Through production from Pi’erre Bourne on “On God,” Kenny G’s saxophone solo on “Use This Gospel” and Ty Dolla $ign’s unique voice on “Everything We Need,” this album surpassed the hump of mediocrity.

This album marks a new chapter for West, since he has seemingly moved on from his previous style of rap music. His introduction into Christian rap, or gospel music, is enticing as it shows how unique West is and how he really is able to just go away from all his tendencies from the past and create a completely new sound for himself. Even though West might be exaggerating by saying that God told him to create this type of music, the future is bright for West, and hopefully West blesses his fans again.