JESUS IS KING (KANYE WEST)

RELEASED 25TH OCTOBER 2019

Favourite track: Follow God

An album praising the Lord, re-educating people about what’s truly important and the idea of sin/temptation/faith though incredible gospel vocals, rap, incredible instrumentals and beats creating a truly powerful sensation

A highly-anticipated album from Kanye West entitled JESUS IS KING was released last month but I’ve only just managed to find time to listen to it now. The album includes 11 tracks all with absolutely no explicit content and a focus purely on faith. Kanye has been known recently for his successful ‘Sunday Service’ where he usually collaborates with gospel choirs and musicians to create something, completely engaging the room. The album cover is just a blue vinyl. Nice and simple compared with the artwork of his previous albums.

Image credit: Financial Times

The first track ‘Every Hour’ is as gospel as you could get. A choir, piano accompaniment and praise to God via song. ‘Selah’ begins with organ notes, then some jazz brass and Kanye’s rap. The drums in this are powerful and intense as then we have a choir singing “Hallelujah” in a haunting way. The bass comes in to add depth to the song. The typical Kanye retro sample comes in ‘Follow God’ when all of a sudden an old school Hip-Hop rap and beat adds a whole other dimension to it. The use of the sample really is genius in combination with the instrumental. The music then goes into a scream stopped by the beautiful, melodic guitar in ‘Closed on Sunday’. There’s gorgeous vocals to vary the sound as he raps slower in this. He talks about protecting daughters (almost like he did in ‘Violent Crimes’) and then training sons into understanding faith.        

‘On God’ has a HARD bass, beat and some wild synths. This one is about getting to where you’re meant to be and that nothing can stop you even if “life gon’ have some lows and some highs”. This one has a more futuristic, video game, electronic feel to it but it works. Kanye really is a master when it comes to production and his messages in this album appear far more deep, significant and insightful. Ty Dolla $ign and Ant Clemons feature in ‘Everything We Need’. I love the chord progression and the vocal harmonies in this. Ant Clemons also features on the next track ‘Water’ which has a funky bassline and chord progression that creates a bop vibe. It’s upbeat and talks about how God’s love will get them through any storm. ‘God Is’ opens with a jazzy instrumental and some powerful female gospel vocals. Then a choir comes in as Kanye sings rather than raps. ‘Hands On’ (ft. Fred Hammond) has some warped synths with bass and higher pitched synths. It creates a dark, intimidating backing whilst Kanye raps about the devil and how Christians are the first ones to judge him about his gospel album. Clipse and Kenny G feature on ‘Use This Gospel’ which opens with a solo, repetitive ringing noise and then is interrupted with tuned, deep vocal harmonies. They rap about how it’s “a hard road to Heaven” and how they have put their faith in “the Father” in this life. The final track ‘Jesus Is Lord’ which opens with a range brass and then softer singing from Kanye full of praise to God. It’s got a regal, majestic feel to it with the choice of instruments.

This album is great if you’re seeking to hear gospel in a new, modern way.