New Album, New Kanye?

New Album, New Kanye?

December 03, 2019 | Music

With the holidays fast approaching, you may be reminded not to bring up controversial dinner-table topics like politics and religion. If you’re Kanye West, however, those rules have definitely long gone out the window.

After a long wait, the 21-time Grammy winner dropped his ninth album, “Jesus Is King,” at the end of last month. Here’s everything you need to know about it.

The Delayed Release

Kanye’s wife, Kim Kardashian West, announced on social media in August that “Jesus Is King” would be released on September 27th. When the day arrived and the record was nowhere to be found, Kim posted, “He's dropping the album Sunday. Just a few final tweaks to the mixes.” By the end of the weekend, fans were left disappointed once again, living on a prayer for new music.

Kanye then appeared on the Kimmel show and announced that the album would be dropped at midnight, in just a few hours. To the dismay of his devout fans, this was not the case.

West finally released the album on October 25th.

A Gospel Record

The album begins with a track called “Every Hour,” and goes on to include intense choral arrangements, churchy organs, and God-centric lyrics. Although he layers in modern production, trap, autotune and, of course, rap, the album is undoubtedly focused on Kanye’s approach to gospel.

“This album has been made to be an expression of the gospel and to share the gospel and the truth of what Jesus has done to me,” West told a crowd eagerly awaiting his music in New York City. As a departure from his past albums and many others within Kanye’s usual genres, there is no cursing or vulgar themes on any of the tracks.

Reactions from the music industry and fans have been heavily mixed, but as usual, Kanye has captured everyone’s attention.

Politics and Religion

Kanye has been a strong supporter of President Trump, which has caused controversy among some of his listeners. In 2018, he received backlash for a remark that slavery “sounds like a choice.” If could be that after alienating many members of his black, Christian fan base, this album was an attempt to win them over from a different angle.

 Many gospel artists have praised Kanye for creating a faith-based tribute to God. The album is full of lyrics like, “I know Christ is the fountain that filled my cup. I know God is alive,” and “Follow Jesus, listen and obey.”

 In typical Kanye fashion, West has made his opinions loudly known. But this time, it’s supposedly all about committing himself to religion through his music. In a recent interview, Kanye said, “I will no longer entertain — I’m not here for anyone’s entertainment,” claiming that his mission is now to spread spirituality.

What’s Next

The rap, hip-hop, and now gospel star has said he will release a new album on Christmas called “Jesus Is Born.” It’s not yet known whether the record will be studio recordings or live performances, but he has described the project as a “Sunday service album.”  

West promised this record before “Jesus Is King” even dropped, so there is no telling if he will stick to the projected time line. His continued success, though, is undeniable. The album had the equivalent of 264,000 sales in the U.S. in its opening week alone, according to Nielsen.

This record and his new pious and personal narrative leave music fans wondering if they’ll also receive a transformed Kanye for the holidays.

Jason Lee Menard
Jason Lee Menard

The attraction is only natural.

Come On In

— or —