Kanye West – “Jesus is King” review

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Kanye West is a Chicago icon that really needs no introduction at this point. From his polarizing public image to his damn near flawless discography, the man has really made a continuous & undeniable impact on hip hop within the past 15 years. However throughout 2019, Kanye has been going around the world with his newly formed gospel-rap outfit Sunday Service performing gospel songs & covers of his discography for an hour. But after teasing fans with listening parties for his 9th full-length album for the past month, he’s actually dropping it worldwide.

The album begins with “Every Hour”, where the Sunday Service choir sing about how we always need God over a bare piano instrumental. The next song the track “Selah” talks about looking back & reflecting upon over an organ while the track Follow God” finds Ye encouraging the listener to find a higher power over a College Dropout-esque instrumental. The song “Closed on Sunday” makes painfully corny references to Chick-fil-A over a Timbaland instrumental starting off with an acoustic guitar & later switching up into something more minimalist & ominous while the track “On God” uses the titular expression to address his current well-being along with his past comments on the 13th amendment over a Graduation-inspired instrumental from Pi’erre Bourne.

The song “Everything We Need” with Ty$ & Ant Clemons sees the 3 talking about switching their attitudes over an trap beat co-produced by Ronny J & Mike Dean with an organ in the background while the track “Water” with Ant finds the 2 talking about purity over a somewhat funky instrumental co-produced by Timbaland. The song “God Is” sings about how the Lord is victorious & gives him power over a soulful instrumental while the track “Hands On” talks about religion being more prominent in Ye’s life over an intoxicating instrumental. The song “Use This Gospel” is pretty much a full blown Clipse reunion as Kanye only does the hook, but I’ll take it. Pusha T & No Malice both talk about seeking forgiveness like they never left over some plinky keys, but the sax solo from Kenny G was unexpectedly good. The album then finishes off with “Jesus is Lord”, where Kanye of course sings about his newfound love for Christ himself over some horns.

While I myself am not the biggest fan of gospel music, this is a decent experience. Kanye truly sounds like he’s legitimately happy & finally at peace with himself in comparison to his last 3 albums, but the mixing is absolutely terrible. Hopefully down the road, he’ll patch it up like he did with The Life of Pablo back in 2016.

Score: 3/5

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