Article by Bailey Kyriacou
Jesus is king is the ninth studio album released by Kanye West. It was released October 25 2019 through his label GOOD music and distributed by Def Jam. The record is a heavily gospel influenced Christian hip hop record, however this is not the album that West promised his fans when he announced it over a year prior, on September 17 2018. Initially announced as the project Yandhi, the alleged follow up to West’s 2016 album Yeezus, the announcement gained a lot of traction as fans were ecstatic that they were getting a new Kanye West album so soon after Ye (West’s 8th studio album). West boasted features from artists such as Ty Dolla Sign, Lauryn Hill and posthumous vocals from XXXTentacion. However, fans excitement was to be soured as West missed the initial October 29 (2018) release date, with West claiming that the album wasn’t yet finished.
Kim Kardashian, West’s wife, tweeted out a new release date – November 23rd – however, again, fans were to be disappointed as November rolled round, West announced that he was postponing the album indefinitely.
It would not be until August 2019 that fans of Kanye West would hear anything new about the ever speculated Yandhi, although not exactly how they wanted it. Kardashian announced the new album as Jesus is king via photo of a notebook with the track list and release scribbled down.
This announcement caused quite a stir as the new name and track list indicated the album was going to be completely different to the album that was promised the year previous. The change in direction for Jesus Is King seemed to have stemmed from Wests recent reconnection with Christianity. Jesus Is King would go on to miss its September 27th release, it would be pushed back two days to the 29th. This release was also missed. At this point, understandably, fans were getting very frustrated with West. They had been promised this album for over a year at this point, West had gotten their hopes up and crushed them on multiple occasions. At this point it was a fair assumption that the album was never coming, that it would be an eternity of delayed release dates. But finally, on October 25th 2019, Jesus Is King was finally released to the public.
After all the waiting, the speculation, the leaks and the broken promises, was the record worth it? According to the majority of the Kanye West fanbase; no, it wasn’t. After being promised the weird and alien West that people got on Yeezus, the gospel sound of Jesus Is King just wasn’t the fix that fans were after. Critically the album was not a hit either, with the record getting mixed reviews across the web. However, that didn’t stop the album from reaching number 1 on the Billboard 200 chart (Billboard.com).
Somehow, despite all the delays, changes in direction, poor reviews and poor reception, West still managed to top charts and break records. But can Kanye West keep this up? Will fans continue to support him as he continues to move away from the music that made his following? With West announcing Jesus Is King Part II (featuring Dr Dre), it will be interesting to see where West can take his career from here.