Last weekend Kanye West finally dropped his long-awaited, much-debated ninth studio album ‘Jesus Is King’. Many of his hardcore fans were suprised that this album really was about Jesus and nothing but Jesus. For many people Kanye’s “recent” turn to Christianity came as a big shock and came across as not authentic.
If you ask me, this criticism is unfair to say the least. Christianity has always been a part of West’s life and was deeply rooted in his childhood. Both his mom and his dad are believed to be proud Christians. Kanye’s dad Ray even was a Christian marriage counselor for years. If you look at Kanye’s early beginnings as a rapper you will notice that he had a strong bond with Jesus at that time. On ‘Jesus Walks’ the fourth track on his debut album ‘College Dropout’ he openly proclaims his devotion to Jesus and criticizes the way the industry looks at religion.
“So here go my single dog radio needs this
They said you can rap about anything except for Jesus
That means guns, sex, lies, video tape
But if I talk about God my record won’t get played
‘Jesus Walks’, 2004
Talk about making bold moves as a kid who was fresh on the scene back then.
One thing I always believed is that Sunday Service was a kind of therapy for Kanye after he went through depression and a mental breakdown in 2016. He comfirmed that theory a couple of days ago in an interview with Real 92.3’s Big Boy when he said that one thing he wrote down when he was in hospital is to build a church in Calabassas.
Another sign of West’s authenticity can be found in the fact that he does not back down from calling out his fellow christians as many have outed criticism on Sunday Service and Kanye doing a gospel album.
“Said I’m finna do a gospel album/What have you been hearin’ from the Christians?/They’ll be the first one to judge me/make it feel like nobody love me”
‘Hands On’, 2019
Kanye wouldn’t be Kanye if he didn’t gave his own little twist to Christianity and the concept of church. In his interview with Zane Lowe he mentioned the term Christian innovator a few terms, referring to his Sunday Service concept as a kind of new form/way of church. He actually could be on to something, although a lot of people are religious, most are reluctant or don’t speak very highly of church. Kanye’s ‘Sunday Service church’ is one of unison, good music & joy, making the church more accesible to the youth.
Both Sunday Service & Jesus Is King are an essential part of West’s journey towards freedom and true happiness. It’s safe to say that Kanye’s, as he mentioned in his interview with Zane Lowe earlier this week, not here for anyone’s entertainment with this album on which his thoughts are clear and no longer erratic. ‘Jesus Is King’ is an album for himself & for Jesus, not for anybody else.