Photo Illustration by The Daily Beast (photo credit: Twitter/Getty)

JESUS IS KING produced by musical artist Kanye West is one rollercoaster of an album. The first track of the album “Every Hour” is a heavy hitter featuring the Sunday Service Choir. The song eases us into the album until the sudden stop of sound. This awkward transition leads us into the second track of the album “Selah”. The second track off the album has a strong instrumental with undertones that push us through the song. The choir pulls the listener into an emotional trance with their isolated vocals. These vocals are backed up with the beat and percussion hitting hard, short and fast throughout the entirety of the track. This feeling is almost euphoric until the outro. The listener is pulled out of this peaceful place with the, “woo” outro that diminishes the emotion in the song.

The third track “Follow God” starts off strong with an old radio-style vocal effect which is instantly ruined when West starts rapping. The two vocal differences are layered parallel to each other. They are on the same decibel range which creates this war between the two which leads to this chaotic scream pushing the listener to the next song “Closed on Sunday.” The fourth track starts as this strong emotional instrumental complemented by strong vocals on every beat and offbeat making a full sounding track. West’s vocal effects are strong when he first comes in with the line “Closed on Sunday” which leads us to the second line, “You my Chick-fil-A,” which immediately turns the entire track into a meme.

West spoke out about gay rights through his hip-hop music. He spoke about the discrimination in hip-hop and how it needs to end, but then makes a song about a company, Chick-fil-A, who is against the LGBTQ community. On the track “Hands On,” West sings, “Nothing worse than a hypocrite.” Is this not hypocritical? Not only does this track become a joke within the first few seconds, but West also calls hypocrites the worst, yet he is one.

West gets more serious in his next track “On God” singing about God and how he lights the way in the darkness. The questionable part of this track is when he sings, “Thirteenth amendment, gotta end it.” The thirteenth amendment states, “Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.” By ending the thirteenth amendment, the United States government would then allow slavery to be legal.

Later on this same track, West sings, “That’s why I charge the prices that I charge.” If one is not informed on West’s merchandise line, here is a little bit of a breakdown. In the United States, JESUS IS KING t-shirts are $60. His sweatshirts and crewnecks range from $160 to $250. In the track “God Is” West sings, “From the rich to the poor, all are welcome through the door.” Clearly, West’s merchandise line is only for the rich.

The most controversial track is the ninth track “Hands On.” West sings, “Said I’m finna do a gospel album, what have you been hearin’ from the Christians? They’ll be the first one to judge me, feelin’ like nobody love me.”

Let’s break this down. There are a lot of Christian/Gospel singers/artists from Colton Dixon, Third Day and Remedy Drive to Danny Gokey, Matthew West and Sidewalk prophets so when West sings, “What have you been hearing from the Christians?” Well, we have been hearing a lot because West is not the only one with a “religious” album. The more the audience listens to this record, the more they realize this album is more about West than it is about religion.

West then follows that with, “They’ll be the first ones to judge me,” well, yeah because this so-called “religious” album was made for popularity, controversy and to make a paycheck not because there was any actual care about spreading the word of God. That verse is followed by “Feelin’ like nobody love me.” Jesus’s love is great and powerful, and his love alone can fill the void of loneliness, so why is West feeling so alone? Maybe it is because his “gospel” album is hollow of God and filled with himself.

The next track “Use This Gospel” has a basic instrumental with a weird chime in the background that makes the track feel like he recorded it in his car with the door open and the key in the ignition. The listener hears, “DING, DING, DING” which is abrupted by an off-putting Kenny G saxophone solo and back to the dings.

All in all, this album is just another train wreck by Kanye West. We hear really amazing instrumentals that fall flat with weird screams, annoying chime sounds and battles trying to hear the vocalist’s words over them. Vocally this album lacks a bite, West repeats the same idea over and over but with zero profanity this time. This album is also on the shorter side, only being twenty-seven minutes total. This record is a “religious” or “gospel” album but the only message that West is selling is the message of himself. Jesus is king, but West has not won a crown since 808’s and Heartbreaks.

Kyle Griffin
Kyle is working towards a Graphic Design and Media Arts major and a Video Production minor going into his senior year at Southern New Hampshire University. This is his fourth year on the Penmen Press. As Marketing Manager, Kyle has absorbed two of his previous positions as Photography Editor and Social Media Manager, and adding on Lead Videographer.