A Film Review of Kanye West's 'Jesus Is King'

Preaching stillness before the storm.

By
Entertainment
7,609 Hypes 1 Comments

The last time Kanye West delivered new music was just over 500 days ago. Since then he’s continued his ongoing battle with bipolar disorder without the aid of medication. He settled an eight-month-long dispute over publishing rights with EMI. There was an entire project’s worth of potential Yandhi songs leaked to Spotify under a tongue-in-cheek all-caps pseudonym. He even attempted to tackle low-income housing with DIY dome structures on a roaming Calabasas property.

Now Kanye returns to Christianity.

The Jesus Is King IMAX experience is both beautiful and efficient. Kanye appears on screen for short intervals of time, instead delegating most of famed fashion-photographer-turned-director Nick Knight’s symmetric, circular shots to the setting: artist James Turrell’s Roden Crater installation in Painted Desert, Arizona. Every frame is on the verge of being screen captured into your next desktop background. The lighting is natural, the shots static and minimal, and the runtime at just over 30 minutes, mirroring Kanye’s 2010 Runaway short; but not an avant-garde plot-driven affair like its predecessor. The theater was surprised to see the end credits so soon.

In the 15 years since “Jesus Walks,” Kanye has transitioned from soul and gospel samples, collaborating with a lone violinist to conducting his own personal choir. He telestrated the move alongside his pastel purple entourage during his Coachella Sunday Service performance. Kanye revisiting scripture fits right into the current era where Fear of God-clad pastors are considered influencers. But Jesus Is King’s tone is both hopeful and redeeming. It doesn’t quite align with his politics but will surely deliver an uplifting sentiment heading into the holiday season — right before Kanye’s next Jesus Is Born project releases on Christmas Day.

For all of the chaos and contradiction in Kanye’s past two years, ‘Jesus Is King’ offers up a half-hour meditation — an attempt at stillness.

One of Kanye’s most redeeming traits is his ability to deliver unwavering vulnerability. Even if he appears to tread backwards or stand firm in the face of self-inflicted controversy, his reflection and personal growth will always retain a loyal fanbase (and for good reason). Kanye’s impromptu adaptation (like the ‘Shot on iPhone’ album artwork for Ye) to whatever inspiration enters his ever-aware and sometimes-manic orbit is as signature here as ever. His non-secular pivot doesn’t appear to be fleeting. As everything Kanye does, it shines as authentic, even if the Blade Runner-esque typeface on the Bible scripture cards doesn’t necessarily serve as a good fit next to Knight’s photography.

The Jesus Is King documentary is a wonderful companion to Kanye’s ninth solo studio album. He revisits 808s & Heartbreak‘s “Street Lights” while literally sweeping the floor in a single shot reminiscent of Tom Sach’s ‘How To Sweep’ YouTube tutorial. In another frame, a close crop of his aging hands holding his infant son Psalm is paired with soft lullabies. For all of the chaos and contradiction in Kanye’s past two years, Jesus Is King offers up a half-hour meditation — an attempt at stillness. Now onto the rush for stadium tour tickets, regional merch, and that Kenny G collaboration.


For deeper insight into Kanye West’s current mindset, watch his recent two hour conversation with Zane Lowe, and check out the latest in his seemingly never-ending Jesus Is King merch drops.

Read Full Article

What to Read Next

Sony Claims PlayStation 5 Is Faster Than Xbox Scarlett
Gaming

Sony Claims PlayStation 5 Is Faster Than Xbox Scarlett

According to a recent job listing.

Guapdad 4000 Bolsters Scam Rap Movement With Debut Album 'Dior Deposits'
Music

Guapdad 4000 Bolsters Scam Rap Movement With Debut Album 'Dior Deposits'

Featuring Tory Lanez, Key!, Denzel Curry, Kenny Beats, and many more.

Xavier Omär & Sango Reunite for 'Moments Spent Loving You'
Music

Xavier Omär & Sango Reunite for 'Moments Spent Loving You'

The followup to their 2016 joint mixtape.


Gallant Shares Emotive Sophomore Album 'Sweet Insomnia'
Music

Gallant Shares Emotive Sophomore Album 'Sweet Insomnia'

The R&B singer-songwriter returns with sonically expansive offering.

Tame Impala Announces Return With New Album 'The Slow Rush'
Music

Tame Impala Announces Return With New Album 'The Slow Rush'

The followup to 2015’s Grammy-nominated album, ‘Currents.’

HAVEN Drops Utilitarian FW19 Polartec Capsule
Fashion

HAVEN Drops Utilitarian FW19 Polartec Capsule

High Loft™-insulated.

More ▾
 
Subscribe to our Newsletter

Gain access to exclusive interviews with industry creatives, think pieces, trend forecasts, guides and more.

By subscribing, you agree to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

Help us serve you better

We appreciate your support in allowing HYPEBEAST ads, where we can share contents from the latest fashion, to those culturally relevant. In adding HYPEBEAST to your ad blocker's whitelist, ads on our sites will show while you continue to browse.