Kanye West—rapper, songwriter, record producer and fashion designer—drops gospel album.
Many others thought this day would never come, but on Sept. 29 Kanye West—Yeezus himself—dropped a new album entitled “Jesus is King” for the world to hear. The album clocks in at 27 minutes with 11 tracks, featuring his Sunday Service Choir, Ty Dolla $ign, Ant Clemons, Fred Hammond, Clipse and Kenny G.
The most notable thing about the album is that it is a gospel album with few expletives. In the past, Kanye has called some of his previous albums “gospel albums,” including his 2016 album “The Life of Pablo” which he described as “a gospel album with a whole lot of cursing” to radio host Big Boy’s Neighborhood. But this new album, with every track centered on faith, rings very differently in the ears of his listeners.
Starting out with the first track “Every Hour,” listeners are met with traditional gospel sounds of a choir proclaiming, “Sing every hour, every minute, every second / sing each and every millisecond / we need you.” This stands as a perfect platform and jumping-off point for the album, especially three tracks later with his song “Closed on Sunday.”
Kanye starts hammering his message harder, saying in the lyrics, “Raise our sons, train them in the faith, through temptations, make sure they’re wide awake / Follow Jesus, listen and obey / No more livin’ for the culture, we nobody’s slave.” Kanye preaches a powerful message here, saying that we must stop being slaves to the culture and must follow, listen to and obey Jesus.
The album has been long anticipated following months of Kanye’s “Sunday Services” across the country, which were weekly private and public pop-up shows with various artists.
After listening, I would say one of the hardest-hitting tracks on the album is “God Is.” In this song, Kanye pours out his heart and adoration to God, describing him as “King of Kings, Lord of Lords.” Kanye holds nothing back, saying that it is not about any religion, rather it is about the revolution Jesus brought.
The ninth track of the album entitled “Hands On” features acclaimed gospel singer Fred Hammond. Kanye reflects on Christians saying “Told people God was my mission / What have you been hearin’ from the Christians? / They’ll be the first one to judge me, make you feel like nobody love me / Make you feel alone in the dark and you’ll never see the light.”
Kanye is arguably one of the biggest icons in pop culture and holds one of the biggest platforms to speak from, and the fact that he is now using his influence to proclaim the name of Jesus is something to be celebrated and respected. Former Bethel Music and Jesus Culture worship leader Jake Hamilton said it best when he posted on Instagram, “Let’s start a new hashtag. #prayforye…Get the intercession rolling for a man attempting to shine light in the darkness and bring hope to the hopeless.”