Kanye West’s “Jesus is King” finds the rapper changing his life, others’


Delays have characterized Kanye West’s latest album, “Jesus is King.” The album is the rapper’s first since last year’s “ye.” This has arguably been a rough year for West, who made headlines after seeming to seek the approval of much-criticized US President Donald Trump. Now that West’s focus seems to be back on music, he is trying new things. The reaction to which has ranged from positive to not sure what to think.

“Jesus is King” by Kanye West, a new chapter?

All that has happened to West, at least that which has been made available to the public has not been funny. Sure, giving a pair of athletic shoes designed by his own company to the president of the United States might be worth a laugh, but suffering the negative effects of opioids is less funny, and according to some interviews in media outlets this week, West explains that it was nearly dying from opioid use that caused him to return to Christianity. As a result, the album, “Jesus is King.”

For some, West’s turn from secular music to Gospel music is a phase. The rapper’s change in style has been likened to that time Snoop Dogg recorded a Gospel album, and even had some iconic figures of Gospel involved in the project, including Marvin Sapp and the Clark Sisters. West, too, has some recognizable names from the world of Gospel involved on “Jesus is King.” One notable is Fred Hammond. Hammond also worked with Snoop Dogg. Hammond became a household name in 2000, thanks to his single “You Are The Living Word,” from the album “Purpose by Design.”

Hammond’s work on the album is found in a song called “Hands On.” Some of the other songs on the album, and this was the other aspect of West’s work that made news, is that are cleaned up versions of West’s older material. That approach is kind of noteworthy. Since, he did become famous with the dirty versions. His proverbial new leaf is extending to his previous works. Whether West in motivated by shame, or just not wanting to be a hypocrite or both, the move to clean up his own songs is a bold one.

For people who want the rapper’s change to be permanent, there is hope for West’s future. It has been reported in some media outlets that West even asked those who were working on “Jesus is King” to refrain from premarital sex, and also not to work on other albums until his was completed. There was no word detailing if West or any connected to him followed up on production staff to see if they were following the guidelines.

With the release of “Jesus is King” it is highly likely that West has found a new career path. Or, that he simply proved again that he is skilled at making the whole world pay attention, at least for now.

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Dodie Miller-Gould is a native of Fort Wayne, Indiana who lives in New York City where she studies creative nonfiction at Columbia University. She has BA and MA degrees in English from Indiana University-Purdue University, Fort Wayne, and an MFA in Fiction from Minnesota State University, Mankato. Her research interests include popular music and culture, 1920s jazz, and blues, confessional poetry, and the rhetoric of fiction. She has presented at numerous conferences in rhetoric and composition, and creative writing. Her creative works have appeared in Tenth Muse, Apostrophe, The Flying Island, Scavenger's Newsletter and elsewhere. She has won university-based awards for creative work and literary criticism.

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