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Jesus is King: A Review of Kanye’s New Album

Kanye West’s 9th studio album has brought about a bit of controversy due to its stark contrast to his music thus far. It’s almost as if he has taken a 180 if you compare him years ago (ie. College Dropout in 2004 and his ever growing “Yeezus” complex) versus how he is now, and it should be taken into account that his life has completely changed since then. Getting married to a Kardashian, having four children, and finding his way back to Christ is pretty unconventional for a rapper, but in this industry, you should expect the unexpected. 


This is the first of Kanye’s albums to be defined as religious music, but many have marked it as blasphemous or another way for him to capitalize off of the youth. It’s interesting to see Kanye’s music grow with him and the changes in his life. “I don’t attest to any religion that tells me that other people gotta go to hell,” he said in 2008. “I don’t believe in a religion that has something against gay people. That has something against Muslims. That has something against Buddhists. You know? And I don’t really believe in any of that. I really believe in absolute truth.” His attitude has definitely changed since then; now being known for his Sunday services that are usually frequented by the likes of Chance the Rapper, Katy Perry, Justin Bieber, & Brad Pitt and requiring others to sign an NDA–very exclusive. Kanye’s views on Christianty seem to be simpler, and rather than him consistently questioning the contradictions the religion seems to have, he admires it for what it is and the Lord and His blessings. 


Songs featured include silly tunes such as “Closed on Sunday” referencing Chic-fil-a’s reverence for God’s day, to ballads backed by choir singers in “Selah”. Jesus Is King serves as the light compared to the darkness portrayed in his last album, The Life of Pablo. Whereas typical Christian music discusses salvation and struggle, Jesus Is King is still very Kanye-centric in the sense that many of his songs talk about God has served and helped him. “How you got so much favor on your side?/‘Accept him as your lord and savior,’ I replied,” he raps on “On God.”


This record serves a blank slate for Kanye West, one that has been in the making for the past 15 years, and it is obvious that he takes comfort in it and his faith. Despite the questions behind his motive for releasing Christian music, I think that what’s most interesting is that after the release, teenagers are attempting to find a deeper meaning and search for a faith system to believe in. To have a public figure make religion a part of mainstream music decreases the fear that the younger generation has about worship or even believing in a God. Since his song “Jesus Walks” in 2008 with him rapping “I wanna talk to God but I’m afraid ’cause we ain’t spoke in so long,” to him openly praising God makes him somewhat of a model to not be afraid of what we do not know.


Joanne Gotanco is a freshman Medical Humanities major on the Pre-Med track at Baylor University. She is a LONG way from home (NYC reppin!) and has two shih-tzus named Max and Ruby. When she isn't rewatching Friends for the millionth time, she can probably be found hanging out at Moody Library or at the Fuego drive thru. Things that bring her joy include: fluffy socks, beaches, sushi, and long plane rides.
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