When I heard Kanye was dropping an album called “Jesus is King,” I must confess: I had my suspicions about it. I mean, is he for real? Is this Christian lifestyle thing just a phase or is it a permanent decision for him? Would he swear in this album? His album Pablo was apparently a “gospel” project as well, yet it was peppered with curse words and profanity. Would his new album be the same? That was the burning question for me, and I’m sure for many Christians as well; but I was pleasantly surprised when I heard it. No curse words. No profanity. No nonsense.
The album is a raw and unfiltered proclamation of the gospel. My prayer however, is that he follows through with everything he proclaimed in his album, but I guess time will tell.
How are other Christians reacting?
Well, there’s mixed reactions. Many Christians don’t buy into Kanye’s new life. They think it’s a hoax, a media stunt, or just another artist experiencing a “God phase” only to shrink back to living their old lives after a few months. Christian rapper Eshon Burgundy for example, doesn’t seem to buy into it. In his recent Instagram post (where he posted a photo of Kim Kardashian commenting on her husband’s album), Eshon expresses his frustration with mainstream artists who claim to “find Jesus” yet refuse to renounce their ungodly lifestyles.
Other Christian rappers such as Bizzle and Datin disagree with Eshon Burgundy. They commented on his Instagram post expressing their views on the changes they see in Kanye’s life. They believe it could be genuine. And I would agree… to some extent. From hearing his album and watching recent interviews, his faith certainly seems genuine; but since I don’t know Kanye personally, I can only speak to what I see and hear in his music and interviews.
What I do know is that God calls us to watch for fruit in the person’s life to see if their actions reflect their faith (Matthew 7:16). At this point, I believe it’s too early to tell whether Kanye will continue to pursue a Godly lifestyle or turn back to his old ways. Time will tell, but for now we need to recognize the fact that Kanye is at least taking steps towards faith and using his platform to proclaim Jesus to the masses. As Christians, we should pray and support him.
What do I think of the Album Musically?
Since I am a Christian, it’s tough not be bias about the album, but if I were to rate it from 1 to 10 (as objectively as I can), I would have to give it a solid 7.5/10. Though I’ve never been a huge Kanye fan, I can’t deny the man’s talent. He is a musical genius. I wouldn’t say Jesus is King is his best project musically, but it’s certainly his best morally. The message in this album is pure, inspiring, and Christ-centred. But as a Hip Hop fan, here’s what I appreciated musically and creatively about the album:
Its Soulful Vibe: The first word that came to mind after listening to this album was “soul.” Kanye has always had that black gospel influence to his music, but in this new album you can clearly hear it, and for the first time, the content matches the sound.
Its Unapologetic Message: One thing I appreciate about Kanye is how unapologetic he carries himself. He found God and he lets the whole world know by naming his album “Jesus is King.” That’s courageous. That’s revolutionary. That’s Kanye.
Its Originality: For a gospel rap album, this is probably the most original sounding one I’ve heard in years, maybe ever. Most Christian rappers sound too much like other mainstream artist, often lacking originality. Kanye on the other hand, remained true to his sound and his style.