Yeezus is king

Dylan McCabe

After 16 years of trend-setting technique in the hip hop industry exhibited by albums such as “College Dropout,” “Graduation” and “My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy,” rapper Kanye West released his ninth studio album “Jesus is King”. Emblematic of his recommitment to Christian faith, West infused his album with gospel undertones and thematic archetypes pertaining to the power of worship, embodiment of Christ, and the omnipotence of God.

This album marks an entirely new chapter in West’s music, as it differs immensely in its lyrical direction compared to his other projects. The surprising nature of this album came in the form of a complete musical alteration compared to the initial vision of the project; the initial anticipated release for Jesus is King was Sept. 28, 2018 under the title Yandhi. The anticipation greeted with the continual postponement and disappointment that followed angered fans worldwide, and this coupled with his highly resented support for Trump begged the question: would fans continue to embrace and praise Kanye despite these fallacies in his character?

Jesus is King can be regarded as the reconciliation and return to music this era of hip-hop needed. But the question lingers – does it live up to the expectation and suffice for the bland nature of Ye? The album commences with the track “Every Hour,” which is an empowering rousing prophecy of the album. The gospel powerhouse led by his Sunday Service choir. It was crucial for Kanye to set the tone of the album with such a powerful and eloquent song, and this proves to be just that. The following track “Selah,” is the introduction of himself as a fighter in the army of God. The boiling frustration with the greedy backstabbers who occupy the physical world is evident in this track, as West exclaims “We need ours by this evening/no white flag or treaty.” This is the motivation and lead in that sums up the premises of the album.

The following chapter consists of the intricately woven internal storm that plagues West and causes him to question his faith in religion. Songs such as “Follow God” flow with emotional prowess and unparalleled anger with the social media attacks he faces daily, and how this contributes phony feelings that consume his psyche. “Closed on Sunday,” “On God” and “Everything We Need” follow him as he struggles to grapple with economic prosperity and materialism against the Lord providing. These deep, thematic concepts exhibit the elevation of West and his musical talent. His ability to portray his psychological state so transparently is ultimately most evident in the final act of the album. “Water” represents the rebirth Kanye experiences, Kanye begs forgiveness for ignorance. This culminates in Kanye inquiring Jesus to “Heal the bruises, help, heal, forgive, reveal, give us strength, make us well, help us live, give us wealth.” This admittance of his flaws and the pure vulnerability to express himself so clearly is the clarity fans have been for asking for, and his deliverance proves to be excellent and deserving of five stars.

The impeccable production and riveting storytelling on the album that transcend all modern-day hip-hop precedents solidify this as a generational masterpiece with the potential to set a standard for a new genre: gospel hip hop. The unprecedented and transparent exposure on the psyche of West also answers the question fans have been longing for: what will the future hold for West and his music? West is once again trendsetting new, alternate forms of art and I firmly believe that just as West’s recent projects received high praise, Jesus is King will follow this trend, and be hailed and emulated for years to come.

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