An artist such as Kanye West needs no introduction. He is one of the most critically and commercially successful hip-hop artists of all time, with all his albums- except for possibly the 2018 release ye- being heralded as classics. After the cancellation of Yandhi last year, Kanye reworked the unreleased album into this new body of work, Jesus Is King. Despite drawing on heavy Christian themes in his lyricism and production, Kanye’s ninth solo album is a bit of disappointment.
The album opens first with a chopped-up gospel choir on Every Hour before transitioning into Selah, Kanye’s first vocal appearance on the project. Whilst the production here is excellent, featuring an organ and the choir again, Kanye’s lyrics leave much to be desired, with the line ‘Everyone wanted Yandhi/But Jesus Christ did the laundry’ being a lowlight. His flow is uninteresting here, as it is in most tracks, rarely engaging me as a listener except for on the album’s most popular track Follow God which has production reminiscent of Otis from Watch the Throne.
Mixing and vocal clarity throughout the project is sloppy as well, giving the 29-minute album an unfinished feel, especially noticeable in Selah’s second verse and on Pusha T’s verse on Use This Gospel, although this track is a definite highlight of the project with the Clipse duo reuniting and, obviously, completely out-rapping Kanye. I’d go as far as to say that Kanye is usually the worst part of these tracks, ruining the song Closed On Sunday with a chorus that betrays the sensitive string production throughout.
Overall, I’d describe this album as Kanye’s worst. Whilst there are some moments of clarity within the project, particularly in the production, they just sadden me as I’m reminded of Kanye’s previous masterpieces.