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The Statesman


Kanye West’s “Jesus Is King” is different but still controversial

Cover for “Jesus is King,” by Kanye West. Released on Oct. 25, instead of rapping about fame, wealth and sex, West focused on his love for Jesus and the Church. PUBLIC DOMAIN

Kanye West’s songs used to be comprised of controversial lyrics like, “Today I thought about killing you, premeditated murder,” and “I could have Naomi Campbell and still might want me a Stormy Daniels.” Recently, West’s songs evolved to have lyrics like, “We the descendants of Abraham Ye should be made free” and “Every time I look up, I see God’s faithfulness and it shows just how much he is miraculous.” 

Before West became a world-renowned rapper, he was a producer. In 1998, he helped produce the album “Life in 1472” by rapper Jermaine Dupri. He then famously helped produce rapper Jay-Z’s album “The Blueprint” while working for Roc-A-Fella Records in 2001.

Just three years later, West dropped his first-ever solo album called “The College Dropout,” which was partly inspired by the fact that he had attended Chicago State University for a year and dropped out. The album was a hit, and he even received the Grammy Award for Best Rap Album in 2005. Soon after that, West created hit album after hit album and earned 21 Grammy awards, putting him in the caliber with artists like Jay Z, the highest-decorated hip-hop artist. West soon moved onto different facets of the arts.

In 2009, West collaborated with Nike to create sneakers called “Yeezys.” The shoe line then was brought over to Nike’s competitor, Adidas, in 2013. Two years later, West dropped his first clothing line with Adidas called Yeezy Season 1. 

In 2019, West turned to something new and very unexpected: he started to hold “Sunday Service,” in a field in Calabasas, California in a domed tent. West and the choir entertained a star-studded audience, which included Diplo and Courtney Love. Not only was the Sunday Service to show his love for Christianity, but also to promote his new album, “Jesus Is King.”

The album was released on Oct. 25, and it shocked countless fans with the new content. Instead of rapping about fame, wealth and sex, West focused on his love for Jesus and the Church. With song names like, “Selah”, “On God” and “Use This Gospel,” it is safe to say that West turned a new page in his rapping career. Regarding his past songs, West said, “It’s not even a probably [about performing his old songs]. We can play that beat, but I’m going to adjust [the lyrics.]”

Ray Wilson, a sophomore journalism student, said, “I’m okay with him not performing his old songs anymore. If he had truly decided to walk a different path, then we fans must respect his right to no longer perform something he believes isn’t right.”

The second song on the track is “Selah.” The lyrics in the song pertain to the fact that West now sees himself as one of God’s “soldiers.” He also has made numerous biblical references; one of them he says, “John 8:33 We the descendants of Abraham Ye should be made free.” John 8:33 in the Bible pertains to how everyone should be free from slavery because we are all “descendants of Abraham.” 

The fifth song in the album, “On God,” is one of his most famous songs on the record because of his controversial lyrics like, “Thirteenth amendment, gotta end it, that’s on me.” The 13th Amendment famously abolished slavery in 1865. He also opened up about the struggles he had since the start of his rapping career: “The Devil had my soul, I can’t lie / Life gon’ have some lows and some highs / Before the Grammys ever gave a nod.” Although this song and album are different from his past works, the thing that remains consistent is his ability. 

The 10th song of his album is, “Use This Gospel,” features brothers and rappers Pusha T and Malice. The brothers both rap about their struggles in the limelight. Famously, the brothers never made a secret of their fights, but ultimately they made amends. In the song, Malice says, “Just hold on to your brother when his faith lost.” West also touches on how he put his faith in God, saying, “Use this gospel for protection / It’s a hard road to Heaven / We call on Your blessings In the Father, we put our faith.” 

It is unclear what West’s future holds career-wise, but fans are eagerly waiting to see just what this “New Kanye” has in store. 

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