Jesus Is King Part II announced just three weeks after release of critically panned album.
Kanye West teased a sequel to his critically panned gospel record Jesus Is King on Monday afternoon – only three weeks after the album’s release.
“Ye and Dre Jesus is King Part II coming soon,” the rapper posted on Twitter, sharing a photo of himself in the studio with the legendary rapper and producer Dr Dre.
This will be West’s first time working on an album with Dr Dre, who shaped the sounds and careers of various rappers including Snoop Dogg, Eminem and 50 Cent and sold his streaming and headphones business Beats to Apple for $3bn).
West has frequently expressed his admiration for Dr Dre, who crafted the emerging sound of west coast rap in the 90s with his group NWA, immortalized in the 2015 film Straight Outta Compton. In an emotional tribute to Dr Dre, West wrote for Rolling Stone: “Dre feels like God placed him here to make music.”
Scant details are known about the album. What will West’s swearword-free, God-loving lyrics sound like over Dr Dre’s production? More importantly, will the songs be any good?
Fans were excited by the announcement but wary. West has a history of announcing projects that never see the light of day. Canned projects include collaboration albums with Drake and Chance the Rapper, a solo album called Yahndi, and a follow-up to his label Good Music’s Cruel Summer.
The decision to make a sequel to Jesus is King is certainly unexpected. The album did not strike a chord with fans as his previous albums The Life of Pablo and My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy did. Instead, the album came and went – much like its immediate predecessor, Ye. “It’s an album of slogans, dashed-off and too short,” Pitchfork wrote. Dean Van Nguyen wrote in the Guardian: “Too much of Jesus Is King feels unfinished, like West was forced to do the bare minimum to hastily meet a deadline.”
Dr Dre’s involvement hopefully signals a shift in sonics for West. The rapper has strayed far from the old-school samples and production that originally helped propel his career. It’s hard to imagine a producer like Dr Dre participating in West’s new two-minutes-or-less song structures that seem optimized for streaming platforms.
West seems to have recently been struck with artistic inspiration. The rapper also plans to release a Christmas album titled Jesus is Born.
Last weekend, West performed a Sunday service session at Houston’s Lakewood church, featuring a sermon from the megachurch pastor Joel Osteen. He also performed for incarcerated men in a Houston prison.
Next week, he will be staging a seemingly religiously inspired opera at LA’s Hollywood Bowl titled Nebuchadnezzar (named after a biblical king featured in the Book of Daniel). Earlier this month, he announced Yeezy shoes made entirely out of algae.
Can Dr Dre’s involvement helps Jesus is King II make up for the sins of its predecessor? West’s old sound is in need of a resurrection.