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Can Jesus save Kanye's career?

Internets, Yesterday it was announced that Kanye West has given up rap music for good in favor of gos

Life in a Shanty Town

October 1 · Issue #133 · View online
The hip-hop newsletter that's not afraid to ask the tough questions

Yesterday it was announced that Kanye West has given up rap music for good in favor of gospel music, and you can imagine my disappointment.
No but really. I was never a fan of Kanye the Rapper, but there were many nights when I wouldn’t have been able to afford one of those six packs of 16 oz cans of Busch if it weren’t for his antics.
My concern is that I won’t have any use for Gospel Kanye—both literally, in the sense that I won’t be able to exploit his mental illness for my own personal financial gain, and figuratively, in the sense that obviously I’m not about to listen to a gospel album.
I wasn’t sweating the fact that the album had yet to be released, as I sat down to write this, since I wasn’t planning to listen to it anyway. I was fully prepared to write about it in depth without having listened to it—a skill I cultivated in my mid 20s—and it would have been nice to get paid to do so again, for old times’ sake. I guess this way I actually have an excuse.
Jesus Is King, which is both an IMAX film and a 10-track-long gospel album, was debuted this past Friday in Detroit, where I’m sure it was needed. Tickets were given away for free, and there didn’t seem to be any concern that the announcement was made at a time when people still would have been at work. Since then, I think it’s also been exhibited in Chicago and New York, but it’s yet to hit streaming.
When it didn’t magically appear at midnight this past Thursday night, as if it were direct deposit from a job where they don’t force you to get paid on one of those Wells Fargo debit cards (who can relate? woo!), it seemed as if maybe there’d be no Kanye gospel album, like maybe he came to his senses at the last minute, or there never was a Kanye gospel album.
A few perhaps-less-than-reputable music blogs were framing this as a matter of Def Jam not allowing Kanye to release a gospel album. But that didn’t make sense for a number of reasons, including the following.
1) Why wouldn’t Kanye just upload the album to streaming himself? We have the technology, and Kanye is crazy enough to do something that would cause him to get sued by his label.
2) Def Jam probably wasn’t counting on making any money from a Kanye album anyway. They’re well aware of what ye (i.e. the Wyoming album) “sold,” not to mention how much it cost to record.
3) The optics of a 2019 Def Jam—run by CACs, from Paul Rosenberg on down—not allowing a black artist to release a gospel album would be all wrong, if not as bad as, say, that video of Bobby Shmurda tap dancing on a conference room table.
I haven’t been following social media discussions of the album as closely as I should, because I’ve yet to make enough from the Members Only™ version of Life in a Shanty Town to tender my resignation from Warehouse #2, but it doesn’t seem like there’s much of a discussion anyway.
I don’t get the sense that very many people were sweating whether or not this album would appear on streaming this past weekend, which could be an issue for Kanye not because he needs the money—according to Forbes he made exactly $150 million last year—but because I was under the impression that the whole purpose of Sunday Service and what have you was as a much needed rebrand after his MAGA Meltdown, about a year ago.
If no one listens to Jesus Is King, it can’t very well improve his image, and it could hurt sales of his dumb-looking shoes—which is obviously the most important thing here. What Kanye really needs right now is a song that literally everyone likes, whether they admit to or not, like when Arruh dropped the “Ignition” remix after the Pee Tape Trial.
Failing that, he might consider associating himself with the supposedly forthcoming Kylie Jenner noodz—without appearing to approve of them, natch. Maybe he could denounce them from the pulpit during a very special Sunday Service. Jesus was officially against hoo-ers, right?
Take it easy on yourself,

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