Kanye West’s “Jesus Is King” - Gospel Album or Publicity Stunt?
On September 27th, Kanye West finally released his album “Jesus Is King”. At first, we were promised a “Yandi” album but after Kanye had a revelation and found God we are now blessed with a Gospel album. I can’t say that I’m not surprised it was actually released on September 27th as promised. The album includes the traditional organ that is essential for a good gospel feel, a choir belting out unreachable notes and titles very obviously addressing worship. He included all the “must-haves” of a traditional gospel album. However, the lyrics aren’t necessarily on this same level. I am personally someone who believes in expressing your faith and spirituality however you please, considering that faith doesn’t always mean chaining yourself to a specific religion. During this time of label freedom we can’t tell someone they are expressing themselves in the wrong way. Even though Kanye has labeled himself as a Christian he expresses his faith is an unconfined manner. Nevertheless, I can’t say I’m not skeptical.
Simply due to the fact that Kanye has done and said many outrageous things in the past, releasing a gospel album that doesn’t only address his faith but also the struggle of the black community has me left somewhat torn. I do believe the actual production of the album is excellent. I have never doubted Kanye’s ability to create good music. The only thing I have questioned is his sanity. In his song, “Hands On” he talks about police violence targeted towards the black community. I’m always grateful for anyone shining light on this ongoing issue but coming from Kanye I’m not sure if the black community will see him as a spokesperson. The song also touches on the 13th Amendment which to me was the most surprising part of the album. The 13th Amendment is known as the part of the constitution that freed the slaves. We all recall Kanye mentioning how he believes “slavery was a choice” so how come he’s talking about the 13th Amendment when he doesn’t even believe we were truly enslaved? Throughout the album, he makes multiple references to this topic. When I hear him preaching about these things now all I can think of is how he completely disregarded the struggle of our ancestors that affects society to this day. I understand that separation between art and artist is important but his harsh words still echo in the black community to this day and they are hard to just shake off.
Many believe that this album is a clean slate for Kanye. A new beginning. He found his faith and has made groundbreaking revelations in his life that have brought him to create this album representing this change. Whether this is true or just simply a publicity stunt to clean up his reputation the things he has said are not erased from my memory. Nonetheless, Kanye is still an artist to me whether I agree with his art or not he does have the ability to create good music. I believe people should give it a listen and create their own opinion about the album itself.