Culture

Why I love Kanye West’s new album, Jesus is King

Sueann Tan // October 29, 2019, 5:24 pm

Kanye West - Jesus is King

In one of his tracks, Hands On, Kanye West sings, "Don't throw me up, lay your hands on me. Please, pray for me."

Kanye West released his latest album, Jesus is King, a few days ago.

Many around the world have weighed in with their opinions. Some believe that he is doing this for his personal gain and publicity, and that this is blasphemy. Others believe that he comes from a place of true repentance.

I was conflicted, or rather, I chose not to have an opinion on it at first. Honestly, I have personally never liked him nor his music (it’s just not my type of genre). And I was very hesitant to believe that he was genuine about his faith.

I have seen many celebrities lauded for finally turning to Christ and creating social media posts to profess their newfound faith.

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However, their lifestyles don’t always reflect transformation. In my view, some stars have enjoyed the gospel message of grace and acceptance, but are not willing to give it all up to follow Jesus.

It was a friend – a youth pastor – who publicly shared his support for Kanye’s new work. With that, I decided to give the album a listen. In two days, I have listened to all of the album thrice. And as it turns out, I love it.

I was taken through an artistic journey of a man who went from brokenness to a discovery of faith. And in his present state, he’s honest to show that he hasn’t got it made yet.

In a recent interview, Kanye West shared about what Jesus has done for him when discussing his new album.

He is still being transformed. He is still imperfect. He is still coming to terms with following Christ. He is still struggling to find community with fellow believers. It was through this that my eyes opened and my resistance to his work melted.

After all, which one of us can honestly tell others that the road to following Christ has been easy-peasy?

As someone who has lived a wayward life before, I will be the first to say: It is hard, to this day. It has been difficult to renew my mind with the things and ways of God.

Perhaps, his album is also a reminder to us that being a Christian is not about being perfect.

Recalling my days as a young Christian, I struggled to live in Christlikeness because my soul had already been infused with ways of the world – that was all I knew.

How could I even know how to truly love God for who He is? I didn’t even know what real love is to begin with! Let alone, to worship Him in spirit and in truth (John 4:23).

I didn’t know what it meant to “consecrate” myself for the Lord. In fact, I didn’t even know the meaning of that word, along with many other words that Christians are “expected” to know.

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And so I understand. This album is a creative manifestation of a man’s raw, human journey in finding himself in Christ.

I never liked him before because of the way he disrespected people and glorified the hedonistic lifestyle in his previous music. But I fell in love with his music this time because creativity has been used for good – to talk about his new faith journey. 

In that, I see the narrative of the Lord. In that, I see His amazing grace and how it covers us. In that, I see the work of the Cross and what Jesus did. In Jesus is King, I see that God. A God whose grace will cover many who are listening to Kanye’s music. And who can use the music to touch hearts.

Perhaps, his album is also a reminder to us that being a Christian is not about being perfect.

Let it be a reminder that God’s grace in our lives is not to be taken for granted because the depravity of sin is great. Without Him, we all fall short. Let us be in a place of knowing and receiving this grace, so that we, too, can give it to others who are going through the same journey.

For that, I support Kanye. You go, brother. I pray that in this process you will get to know, and love, our Creator more and more each day.

THINK + TALK

  1. What have you found hardest in this journey of following Christ?
  2. How do we treat believers who may not conform to our expectations of how a Christian should look like?
  3. Have you listened to Kanye West’s new album? What are your thoughts?