The True Message of Kanye’s ‘Jesus Is King’ Album

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Kanye West’s new album Jesus Is King finally came out on October 25, 2019 after multiple push backs on it’s release date. Many fans thought the album would drop when the documentary Jesus Is King: A Kanye West Experienced was announced, but it did not. Since then, Kanye has been making lots of appearances to promote his new album; an interview with Zane Lowe,  a performance on Jimmy Kimmel Live, and a ‘carpool karaoke segment with James Corden. 

In January of 2019, West began a musical gospel group call Sunday Service. They perform in a different location every week. Most of the services are said to be invite only and the audience usually has to sign non-disclosure agreements, but the ones held in Chicago, Cody WY, and Dayton were open to the public. These services seem to represent a moving mega church. They also serve as a way for West to get back a lot of the fans he alienated with his devout support for Trump. This new album seems to be the service’s setlist. 

On the ‘carpool karaoke’ segment, Kanye tells Corden how following Jesus has always been his journey and that what he is preaching is nothing new, and I have to say I agree. One of his first hit singles was “Jesus Walks” from his first album The College Dropout back in 2004. His album Life of Pablo released in 2016 was full of christian references with the lyrics “father stretch my hands” being from a well-known methodist hymnal. The first track on Life of Pablo, ‘Ultralight beam’ included a gospel choir. The fact of the matter is following god is not a new development for Kanye, I mean he calls himself Yeezus! But what is new is his extreme focus on this and it’s aforementioned coincidental timing.

Kanye West has always been an amazing producer and this album is no exception. Even if you don’t agree with his beliefs, the music on this album is beautiful. All in all, I think West’s fans were excited to see that this album seems to be way more focused than the album he dropped in 2018 Ye. He seems to be finding his path. But the message of this album does leave listeners less hopeful that the old Kanye will come back around. 

The message of this album seems to be all about how God is serving in Kanye. In the segment with James Corden, Kanye told James that he believes he is God’s personal messenger and that is why he is so successful. In his interview with Zane Lowe, Kanye said, “There is virtually no indication here as to what it means to follow Jesus. That is, other than perhaps sit back and wait for Him to give you a Forbes magazine and a billion-dollar sneaker brand!” Kanye seems to be sending a message of religious entitlement that only benefits the wealthy white man, which perfectly aligns with his political values and beliefs at the moment. West has been consistently supporting Donald Trump for awhile now, and it seems that sadly it has come into his music. One of the lyrics of a new song the album called “On God” reads, “13th Amendment, gotta end it, that’s on me.” In this lyric West calls for the abolishment of the 13 amendment, which is the one that freed the African American slaves! This obviously very confusing for West’s fan because Kanye is African American and a lot of his demographic is also African American.

Yes, this album seems more focused than Kanye’s recent ones’ have been, but it seems that he is still sending the wrong message. The album sounds great, but the lyrics say something else. The last thing we need in this country is more religious entitlement. What we really want for Kanye, is for him to get better. It is really hard to separate the music from the artist. All we can hope for is that this new path he is on helps him see reason, and returns him to his old self and music style.