Kanye West branches out into biblical territory


Photo by: Sumin Kim

Kanye West's "Jesus is King" album has listeners questioning if he should venture into Christian music or if he should stick with rap.

Tiera Jarmond, Dispatch Reporter

“Jesus Is King,” is Kanye West’s new album, and possibly the most controversial, due to his gospel undertones.

While he tried to stay in a rap style, it was hard to achieve the perfect balance of both Christian ideals with the style of rap. The album was a weird addition to his long musical resume, and after listening to all eleven of the songs, traditional rap is definitely what he should stick to.

Listening to the album for the first time, I was definitely not expecting to hear his choir preach for an entire song. Starting with a song like that, I expected to hear an ensemble of songs that sounded like they could be sung during a Sunday Service at any church. But, the further I got into the album, the more I realized that wasn’t the case.

“Selah,” the second song on the album, has multiple biblical verses woven into the lyrics. I’m not religious, so this song was honestly a bit confusing considering the premise of it was the Bible, but at least the beat was decent.

“Follow God” was the next song, and this is where I realized that the album was not cohesive. This song sounded like old school Kanye, which is what confuses me the most. Why would he switch from such a choir-sounding songs to throwback rap-style Kanye?

The song “Closed on Sunday,” was asking to go viral, considering the first lyric of the song is “Closed on Sunday, you’re my Chick-Fil-A”. This song was by far the most entertaining to listen to, for the fact that I couldn’t help but laugh about the constant reference back to Chick-Fil-A’s schedule.

Photo by: Gracie Angeli
“Jesus is King” is Kanye West’s latest album that has taken over the charts. Every song on the album has ranked somewhere on the Billboard Hot 100 list.

“Everything We Need,” was another song that doesn’t match the gospel theme at all. With a feature from Ty Dolla Sign, it sounds like a song you could listen to and forget that the message is supposed to be about God.

“Water,” with artist Ant Clemons, brought back the biblical messages that Kanye started with. This song had a strong mix of reggae and R&B, which was an interesting mix of . To me, this song was by far the best on the album. Maybe it’s the lack of Kanye, it could be because of how easy it was to listen to, but compared to all of the other songs, this is the best song by far.

“On God” is the most forgettable song on the album. Besides its video game-esk beat, there wasn’t anything special to it.

“God is”, “Jesus is the Lord,” and “Use This Gospel (ft. Kenny G.),” all speak on different layers of the bible. They all suggest that you speak to God, and they all remotely have the same lyrical message. None of the songs portray anything in particular, which is very unusual for such a large chunk of the album to be “meaning-less.”

“Hands On, ft. Fred Hammond,” talks about something that I think should have been left off this album. This song brings up the 13th Amendment, which if you didn’t know, abolished slavery.

To me, when he went to the TMZ headquarters and said  “For 400 years? That sounds like a choice,” (about slavery), he lost the right to “talk” slavery in an “enlightening” way. What about slavery has to do with religion in the first place? Nothing really, at least to someone who doesn’t have an extensive knowledge of the Bible. But because Kanye had to say something so offensive about slavery then, I don’t think that it should have been mentioned now.

Honestly, I think he could have done without the album. It doesn’t convey much about his religious views, and I didn’t get much perspective on why or what about his faith should make me get closer to God. I feel he could have conveyed a clearer message.

Am I going to listen to this album again? To be as blunt as possible, no. There aren’t any songs with a catchy beat or a hook that was memorable. So in that light, this album isn’t great, which is pretty disappointing from someone as talented as Kanye.

Unless a song about Chick-Fil-A is your cup of tea, I wouldn’t listen to this album.