“I miss the old Kanye, straight from the go Kanye” When many of his fans rapped along with this part of the song, I don’t suppose they knew how new, new Kanye would actually be. With the drop of Jesus is King in 2019, Kanye managed to once again polarize the whole world. Kanye is known for continually changing his sounds and style from time to time. From The College Dropout (an optimistic yet futuristic sound with a largely inspirational message), to MBDTF (a grungy and aggressively melodic sound with a largely egotistical message) there has always been a progression in the way he pushes the boundaries and reinvents the genre. So is the Kanye who released Jesus Is King, really a new Kanye or is it old Kanye going through another reinvention?
Is he really new Kanye?
At a New York concert, after the release of JIK he was recorded saying “This album has been made to be an expression of the gospel and to share the gospel and the truth of what Jesus has done to me. When I think of the goodness of Jesus and all that he does for me, my soul cries out.” As an observer of Kanye it can be all too simple to conclude that this is just another rambling of a bipolar man. When we look at the validity of the Gospel that he is expressing, then it becomes more credible. This is the Gospel that tells us Christ (a man purporting to be God) died and rose again on behalf of the whole world, so all who believe in him would enjoy a new life of spiritual peace and fellowship with the creator of the universe. When it is considered, it makes this transformation more credible as Kanye had been locked in self proclaimed immorality that imprisoned him in unrest. Which like many of us who have come to Christ can identify with. The next question might therefore be, ‘Could this revolutionary change really happen for someone so seemingly unhinged as Kanye?’, a man who at one point called himself Yeezus.
His testimony reminds me of that of Paul, a man who had the whole world before him and even persecuted the christian to death. Then upon coming in contact with a vision and the gospel of Christ became a radical follower. It is therefore credible that such a big change could really be genuine “Tell the devil I am going on strike, i’ve been working for him my whole life” (Coined from Hands On). All in all we have to have faith that this Gospel can and will save any and every person who humbles themselves to its truth, whether we think they are credible or not.
What does this say about old you?
So as we enjoy the sublime harmonies of the choral arrangement, and blissful message of grace, how can we take in the artist behind the music? Many would offer their opinion but I would like to address two different readers. If you are an old Kanye fan who is new to this Gospel message, consider what would make someone risk potential sales and influence to preach this Gospel. Consider the positive influence his new music is making and lastly to consider the validity of this so called gospel in your own lives. All the old aspects of Kanye that you loved are still present; experimental melodies, confident flows and near perfect production. it’s just that he now has a new and positive outlook on life and that could be you. For those who are skeptical of new Kanye but enjoy this new body of work, consider the fact that you too had an old life. It was already difficult expressing it to your friends now imagine if you had to prove yourself to the world? With this in mind, greet Kanye with more grace and patient prayer.