Kanye Isn’t King Anymore

Nathan Sundell, Op-Ed Writer

October marked a monumental occasion in the world of music. This was the one moment all music critics have intensely feared for years on end. Kanye made a bad album.

People have argued over Kanye for years. While most boomers and pathetic “wrong generation” kids think Kanye’s music holds no merit, music connoisseurs have always noticed the true artistic merit of his albums. From College Dropout to My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy have almost been universally loved by fans and critics alike for the rich production and the usually well thought out lyrics.

His next three albums were not as successful critically, but they have been overall redeemed. Yeezus has become a personal victory for the harcore Kanye following, Life Of Pablo was remade a year after its release, fixing most of the original issues, and Ye has arguably the best Kanye song of all time in “Ghost Town.” Too bad Jesus Is King doesn’t have any saving graces.

First thing that strikes me listening to JIK is the production. For a gospel album this album is very skeletal, very lo-fi, and that doesn’t do the album any favours. Kanye is known for having fantastic, often luscious production, so to hear this album sounding so bare bones is kinda sad.

Another aspect of this album that was severely lacking were the lyrics. I know this is an album trying to spread the word of Christ, and maybe my agnosticism prevents me from truly being impartial, but this album is so one note and homotopical. The only song that strays from cookie cutter religious mantra in any way is “Closed On Sunday.” Too bad this cut is nonsensical and holds some of the worst lyrics in Kanye’s career. The chorus is seemingly comparing a religious lover of his to popular fast food homophobes Chic-fil-A. 

Kanye has had bad lyrics in the past that most are willing to gloss over because they are portrayed as jokes. Sadly, Kanye wants to be taken seriously now, which may lead some to think he’s not as funny or intelligent as we thought.

The most interesting part of the album is the sinister tones and the accusations of Kanye selling out on this record. Some critics of the record bring up past works of Kanye that tackle religion, like “Jesus Walks,” and how often they had lyrics focusing on both the good and the bad of religion. This new record seems like Kanye saying “shut up and believe anything the pastor says.” This record can be seen in some lights as nothing more than a hollow attempt at indoctrination.

Overall this record can be seen as nothing more than a complete letdown for fans of Kanye, who on this project goes out of his way to weakly pander to one subsect of his fanbase in a hastily made fashion. Kanye lets his ego fuel a half baked record with little to no originality behind it. Standout tracks like “Selah” are enjoyable but can’t convert this review into giving it anything other than a 3 out of 10.