"Jesus is King" A Review by Alan Kisaka
Jesus is King the highly anticipated and talked about release by Kanye W is finally out and I must say after seeing the 30 minute IMAX mini movie accompanying the album’s unveiling, I am still taking it all in.
I have to liken this to when Bob Dylan came out with his landmark Christian album “Slow Train Coming”, from which he won a grammy for the track “Gotta serve Somebody”. Just like then, many devoted fans are perplexed and put out by the sudden overt and very public testimony of conversion to Christ by Kanye. Many are skeptical many are disappointed.
But, on the other hand, there are those that are actually quite pleasantly surprised at the raw honesty and conviction that is conveyed in this new album. It’s basically Kanye giving his thoughts and testimony of Jesus in song. It’s not perfect if you’re looking for preciseness in articulation of biblical concepts but, as a personal commentary of conversion it’s wonderful to behold.
In track 9 “Hands On”, he even anticipates how Christians are going to respond (in his mind negatively) to his testimony of conversion.
“Nothing worse than a hypocrite. Change?
He ain't really different. He ain’t even try to get permission.
Asked for advice and they dissed him.
Said I’m gonna do a gospel album.
What have you been hearing from the Christians? They’ll be the first one to judge me.
Make me feel like nobody loves me.
They’ll be the first one to judge me. Feeling like nobody loves me.
Told people God was my mission. What have you been hearing from the Christians?
They’ll be the first one to judge me”
The arrangements are unique where we hear a blend of Gospel with use of the traditional hammond B-3 organ, soaring vocal choruses like in the #2 track Selah, along with slightly processed lead rap vocals.
Track #4 "Closed on Sunday”, begins with a beautiful classical guitar and vocal arrangement. The “Closed on Sundays you my Chick Filet" line, is just brilliant - Chick Filet just got a super boost in free advertising. But the main point is it's a song promoting healthy family relationship through worship and devotion to God.
“Follow Jesus, listen and obey. No more living for culture we’ nobody’s slave. Stand up for my home. Even if I take this walk alone. I bow down to the king upon the throne. My life is his, I’m no longer my own.
Track # 10 "Use this Gospel", which basically, is an ode about the struggles of being a devoted Christian and features a mesmerizing Sax solo break down by Kenny G as well as the rap duo Clipse.
"Use this Gospel for protection it’s a hard road to heaven
We call on your blessings, in the Father we put our faith.
King of the Kingdom, our demons are trembling’
Holy Angels defending, in the Father we put our faith.”
Track # 8 “God is”, is a track that probably won’t get a lot of attention, but it got mine because it’s a straight up song of worship. It begins as an old school 60s classic Gospel/R&B movement reminiscent of early Aretha Franklin or Tramaine Hawkins.
“Everything that has breath, praise the Lord.
Worship Christ with the best of your portion.
I know I won’t forget all he’s done.
He’s the strength in the race I run”.
You won’t ever be the same, when you call on Jesus name.
Listen to the words I’m saying. Jesus saved me now I’m sane.
“Jesus saved me now I’m sane”, says it all about what Kanye is trying to convey in this new release.
I have to say I am impressed and also moved to pray for him and others like him who are in the spotlight.
Things are not going to be easy as he has already expressed. May God grant him strength and protect him in any internal struggles as well as external pressures from the world and culture.