By Mario Cosentino, Student Writer

 

Kayne West is done making secular music.

No, seriously. The hip-hop artist’s most recent album titled Jesus is King came with a promise to only make “gospel music from here on out.”

West joins rappers TobyMac, Lecrae, Andy Mineo and NF in a sub-genre of music called Christian hip-hop. Many of these rappers, however, refuse to be called Christian rappers, despite strong Christian themes being present in their music.

This release came when his fanbase was anticipating “Yandhi” but it seems that Kayne put that on the back burner to focus on this passion project.

With its distinctly Christian lyrics and lack of curse words, this eleven-track album is far different than anything he has released in his illustrious career.

This can be seen just by listening to his first song, “Every Hour”. The short but energetic track features a full Gospel choir in the background and is a great way to start an album focused around the Gospel.

The album as a whole has a sort of serious tone to it, but he also includes a song called “Closed on Sunday” that serves as an ode to Chick-Fil-A and encourages families to put down everything and go to church on Sunday.

Every song is stripped down and honest compared to his usual style of music. Throughout the album, he references scripture numerous times and alludes to the flood and the fall of man in the Garden of Eden.

Kayne anticipated criticism from the Christian community in his most vulnerable song of the album, “Hands On”. Here are some of the lyrics.

“Told people God was my mission

What have you been hearin’ from the Christians?

They’ll be the first one to judge me

Make it feel like nobody love me”

He ends the song with a humble request, “Somebody pray for me.” 

It’s understandable if you question West’s conversion and his sudden change to produce Gospel related music. One thing is for sure, he is not doing this for financial gain and it is unlikely that it is a publicity stunt.

As previously mentioned, the biggest names in Christian hip-hop don’t call themselves Christian rappers. Instead, they see themselves as Christians who just so happen to rap. They still aim to glorify God and put him at the center of their music.

This is why I thought it was funny that West explicitly referenced Bible verses in his songs. I think he is just beginning to explore how he can live out his faith in his music and we might see him take the same approach as other Christians in mainstream music, or he may not.

It’ll be interesting to see where West goes from here. Whether he chooses to rap about his life from a Christian perspective or decides to continue using his fame to praise and honor God is up to him.

As a fan of Christian hip-hop, I am excited to see what Kayne comes up with next.  But for now, we have “Jesus is King” to listen to and enjoy.

 

Image retrieved from https://thesource.com/2019/10/14/kanye-west-announces-new-jesus-is-king-release-date/.

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