Review Summary: Gotta have a friend in Jesus...JESUS IS KING
. A blunt title from a blunt man. Kanye wastes no time getting into the gospel elements of this LP and, in some respects, they feel very genuine. I believe this record comes from a place of love; love for the Holy Trinity. It’s hardly surprising, as Mr. West has always been a passionate man, always one to wear his heart on his sleeve - to a fault in most situations. Here, on every single song, we see that fault shine bright with rust and decay - Kanye loves God, but has nothing of significant weight to say. There are lines about God, the persecution of Jesus, and Kanye’s own experience with religion, but very little is actually being said. Kayne just loves Jesus - not that there’s anything wrong with that. Christianity, despite negative things done in the religion’s name, has saved many from their lowest points. Kayne is a man of low points; a man who can’t make coherent, logical statements publicly for whatever reason. A man whose life has been seriously affected by his bipolar disorder. A man who has become a joke in many of the hip-hop circles he helped flourish. My point is this - Jesus might be a good thing for Kanye as a person, but it’s solely up to Kanye to translate that into successful gospel rap.
JESUS IS KING
. Jesus is not at fault for this record being ridiculously awful, just like he wasn’t at fault for Bob Dylan’s religious music or the flood of Lifehouse wannabes. Kanye has released a disheveled, half-finished beast that (presumably) barely survived developmental hell. Pushed back again and again, this project took many different forms before the current blue record on the screen in front of you. It’s obvious - the beats sound like first or second drafts, the mixing/production is embarrassingly subpar, and Kanye’s rapping feels much less tight and fiery. Unlike Kanye, none of the features feel like they had a passion for this project, plus the guest appearances don't mesh well (Clipse and Kenny G was about as good of an idea as U2 and Kendrick Lamar). No one is here for the features, but I genuinely don’t know what we were here for. We all knew this wouldn’t be good. Kanye is an aging provocateur who’s ambitious, sure, but lacks the discipline and diligence to do these ideas justice.
JESUS IS KING
. I just can’t see the appeal here. Every aspect feels half-baked and rushed, but obviously more time in the oven didn’t help. I can only imagine, but I have a feeling like Kanye couldn’t make up his mind when it came to this artistic statement of worship and, as such, constantly fiddled with it, leaving the finished product haphazard and poorly constructed. I just wish that something, anything, was being said here. It’s not preachy, it’s not hypocritical, it’s not controversial; it isn’t anything except hollow praises to God and shallow statements on how the Devil was controlling his sinful ways. Musically, thematically, and in all other forms, JESUS IS KING
lacks value and anything remotely close to substance.