Born-Again rapper drops new album, ‘Jesus is King’

On Oct. 25, 2019, Kanye West delivered to the world his ninth studio album entitled “Jesus is King.”

This album has been met with a myriad of mixed reviews. In lamest terms some people say it’s “fire!” and some say its “trash!” I can’t recount a time since I’ve been a fan of music that an album with so much hype has been criticized in such a way. In such confusion I spent most of the weekend after the drop on a quest for an answer.

The question: Is “Jesus is King” good or bad?

Firstly, it’s important for me to state that a lot of people’s opinions of this album are rooted in controversy. By this time last year, West had come out as a Trump supporter, started sporting the MAGA hat and coined the infamous phrase “Slavery was a choice.” It is understandable why Kanye had become one of the most hated men in America.

Through all this controversy, “Life of Pablo” was still banging at parties, “My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy” (MBDTF) was still being heard in chill hangouts with friends and “Graduation” was still in the headphones of the true hip-hop connoisseurs. So, I can’t understand why people keep alluding to Kanye’s controversy last year when discussing this album. Kanye has been involved in a lot more controversy before and has still produced albums that people love.

I identify as an African-American man. What Kanye said last year hurt me to the core, and I absolutely condemn the statements he made. With that being said, I’m a Kanye fan and he undoubtedly makes great music. As long as his music doesn’t endorse views that directly and negatively impact those who are oppressed, I will listen to his music.

With that being said, let’s talk about this album. Oh wait, I must remind you, Kanye West is now “saved.”

I think this album is great. I’ve talked to those who think this album is garbage. I’ve talked to those who say this album is good but mediocre. Browsing through Twitter all weekend after the drop reaffirmed that to some this album is good and to others it’s bad. When I took time to examine this album with my friends, who are also major music fans, most agreed that the production on this album reminded them of “MBDTF” & “Life of Pablo”

These were some of his highest rated albums, and many would agree that “MBDTF” is their favorite album, so when I hear people say the production on this album is “trash!” I feel a little “heated!” This is the old Kanye, just transformed.

I can understand how the short length of 27 minutes and 4 seconds can turn people off, but the quality of music on this album makes up for that. When I asked a few people around campus how they felt about this album some felt that his recent conversion to Christianity is a gimmick and money grab. Some even say that Kanye is continuing on a downward spiral.

I’m not bothered by all these opinions. “Why?” You may be wondering. Well, Kanye’s fourth studio album “808s and Heartbreak” was met with similar criticism, as it was a departure from the style of music he made at the beginning of his career. People now look at this album as a classic and one that has undoubtedly reshaped the hip-hop genre as a whole. I think “Jesus is King” will be the same way, because regardless of everything else, when listening to the music it’s hard to not like this album.


Editor’s note: This story originally was published in Volume 106, Issue 5 of The Guilfordian on Nov. 8 2019.