Well, it’s here. After the customary mega hype and predictable delays, Kanye West’s gospelized new album “Jesus is King” has been born. (Or should we say born again).
Apparently, several high-profile features from fellow hip-hop stars Nicki Minaj and Young Thug were scrapped before the (presumably) final mixes hit streaming platforms Friday morning. Making the cut, however, is a cameo from smooth jazz sultan and unlikely Kanye affiliate Kenny G. The Seattle-reared sax man provides a solo as luscious as his signature locks on “Use This Gospel,” a track also reuniting fraternal rap duo Clipse. West trading bars with Clipse members Pusha T — a frequent collaborator and GOOD Music artist — and No Malice is a natural fit. But on the surface, Kenny G is more of a head-scratcher.
You might recall, the Franklin High School alum, who’s based in Los Angeles these days, hooked up with West earlier this year when the rapper hired him to play a private Valentine’s Day gig for his wife Kim Kardashian West among a floor full of roses. Video of the performance went viral (as all things Kimye tend to) and evidently creative sparks flew between the two musicians, who seemingly operate in disparate industry circles.
Kenny G first pitched the idea of collaborating while he was warming up for the V-Day surprise.
“Well, when he walked in, I was playing my sax, so I figured I would just play to him,” Kenny G told Rolling Stone earlier this year. “So I started playing some really sweet blues riffs and soulful riffs and a couple of jazz riffs, and I could see he thought it was really good. I said something like, ‘This kind of sound would be really great with some of your music.’ And he said, ‘Yeah, maybe we can go to the studio and check it out.’”
Turns out they did.
The real-life Kenny Gorelick returns to Seattle (sans Kanye) for a Dec. 10 show with the Seattle Symphony at Benaroya Hall. As for the newly devout Kanye, fans can catch a screening of his arty new concert short film, also titled “Jesus is King,” 1 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 26 at the Pacific Science Center. The mini flick documents West’s Sunday Service performances that are part sermon, part concert.