Kanye West's only redeemable quality as a madman was making amazing music. People thought he couldn't go lower than Ye? Those people thought wrong. Jesus Is King is the absolute definition of wasted potential and truly phoning it in. All that fans expected was an incredible gospel rap album. What we got instead, was this nightmare. A collection of poorly mixed, poorly paced, and poorly curated lyrics.
When the record first dropped, my expectations were quite high. The Sunday Service events made the album feel like something truly special. Sure, Kanye had taken the soulful direction before, but literally every time he went on that path, he comes out with masterpieces. Jesus Walks, Ultralight Beam, & Bound 2. Literally E V E R Y T I M E he dropped something soul related, he drenched the track with his greatness and instantly made it enjoyable. Plus, who doesn't like soul sampling, you have to be insane to not love it when you hear a sweet ass implementation of Nina Simone or Ray Charles on a track. If you don't get a rush of emotions running through your whole body, than it is likely you are a robot.
I have never really given a negative review before, so this record definitely is a change of pace for me. Done by my favorite artist of all time Kanye, after getting the decent album Ye, I didn't want another decent record. I wanted something explosive and revolutionary. I did not get that. Instead of getting an evolved, even more soulful version of his debut, what we were given was an utter embarrasment. With zero positive memorable moments to be found, what is the point in even listening to this record more than once?
All of the tracks here consist of some of the worst tracks Ye has ever thrown down. Worse than XTCY, Lift Yourself, & Ye vs. The People? Yeah. The music on here is simply boring. The choir isn't beautifully inserted into this record, sown with care & confidence. Instead, it is sloppily thrown onto the mix like a plate of spaghetti. Production has always been Kanye's strongest point, but on this record, everything sounds like it was recorded in a dungeon and with instrumentals thrown together like a toddler playing with Legos.
With every single album Kanye has always managed to make some sort of important musical statement. On this album, there is no statement, there is nothing. The gospel feels hollow and empty. Despite the chants glorifying god and asking for his safety & love, it feels like the music itself is like an insult to the dude himself. You see, I am a Catholic myself, born and raised, and hearing this music, I guess I am expected to feel uplifted and hopeful, but my mind is empty, my face continuing to keep the straight face, not just through one single, but through the whole album. Speaking of the record itself, it doesn't even feel like an experience in the slightest.
In my last review covering The Avalanches, I talked about how cohesiveness is easily one of the most important aspects to keep in mind when blueprinting and finalizing your album. It is necessary to have organization, pacing, and a clear goal or message to the music. It doesn't have to follow any sort of structure, but the LP should be an EXPERIENCE akin to a movie. Something that really sticks with you for hours, days, weeks, maybe even more. This is what great music does. However, Jesus Is King is far from this. It may have some nice moments like the first few moments of God Is, the decent Follow God, and the honest performances from the Sunday Service choir. It's just that all of the artistry seems like it was sucked dry.
One of the biggest sins of Jesus Is King is the absence of the perfectionism that Kanye has had for most of his discography, say what you want about the guy, he pushes boundaries and always strives to use a new style or try something new that could test the real limits of rap music. The record we got is so eh that his fans have literally put out because remixes and bootlegs than his own studio album. In fact, insulting JIK by saying it sounds like a bootleg would be an insult to the fans, and they certainly don't deserve that, putting out better structured music than the man himself. Hell, this album is only 27 minutes long. Typically a Yeezy album is around an hour long, so where is the sonical development, the musical risks, the ambition? I know where. Nowhere.
Screw you Kanye. Get your act together.
STANDOUT Track: no