REVIEW: Kanye West's "Ultralight Beam" Is Gospel

REVIEW: Kanye West's "Ultralight Beam" Is Gospel

Good news for the music industry

Gospel, a.k.a the good news. With this simple designation I can truly articulate what "Ultralight Beam" is to Kanye's fans and the music industry.

The Life of Pablo, Mr. West's seventh studio album, was released Valentine's Day 2016 to a globe full of anxious listeners. Everything from the lyrics, the message, the release, the production, to the sales has been analytically criticized. People have reviewed the album track by track hundreds of times. It is the topic of discussion, and rightfully so.

The Life of Pablo is reminiscent of MBDTF what with its extensive features, impressive production and ability to grasp a listener by the soul. Resemblance can also be drawn to Ye's early days due to its "College Dropout" feel.

In particular what drew everyone back to the "Jesus Walks" era was the opening track, "Ultralight Beam". This gospel-influenced, soul-packed, hip-hop joint features Chance The Rapper, The Dream, Kelly Price and Kirk Franklin.

There's an immediate sense of nostalgia when we hear 4-year-old Samoria Green praying to God with the conviction of a life-long believer. The Instagram video and sample for the track is easily relatable for anyone who grew up in and played church around that tender age.

Kanye's prayer in verse "Deliver us serenity/ deliver us peace/ deliver us loving/ we know we need it/ you know we need it/", is a cry for the help that only God can deliver, for humanity as a whole. The lyrics, "We on an ultralight beam/ we on an ultralight beam/ this is a God dream, this is a god dream/ this is everything", repeated throughout the song, seem to be a prayer of thanks for the positive and productive journey God is willing and bringing to life. It's an acknowledgement of the security granted knowing that God's will, in the end or in between, is always carried out.

The Dream's verse reads as follows:

I'm tryna keep my faith

But I'm looking for more

Somewhere I can feel safe

And end my holy war

He, as well as Kanye, come in a little soft spoken but with great impact. The Dream's lyrics are an acknowledgement of that internal battle that every Christian faces. The one between the old flesh and the new. The biggest war any one of us is facing is that holy, internal war with ourselves. Faith is hard to hold onto with the temptations of the world.

Then, magnificently, Kelly Price comes in to deliver a sermon with her angelic voice and take everyone all the way back to that one Sunday service God intended especially for you. Her verse is a prayer we are all too familiar with. It begins with interrogation and desperation, seeking answers for the downpour of depression and evil, but transforms into a surrendering. There is a surrender from attempting to look for solace or peace from any other source but God's beautiful light.

Arguably the best feature on the entire album, an incredible standout performance, Chance The Rapper surfs into the song and drops bars harder than what's been common as of late in the rap world.

Swearing allegiance to God, agreeing to shield his name, field the questions of his people and fight his greatest enemy (the Devil) and his army of demons, a further understanding of Chance's relationship with God is illustrated in the first few bars. He then goes on to provide ingenious wordplay and poetic justice while covering major key points:

-He's leading this generation of artists to independence and freedom much like Harriet Tubman

-Although he's not, his daughter is masked from All of The Lights

-He isn't afraid to bring God, one of his biggest muses and influences, into the world of hip-hop (He made Sunday Candy, he never going to hell)

-He's met one of his heroes Kanye West, possess an astonishing 5 credits on his album, and convinced him to include one of the best tracks on the album

-He'll continue to make his music free for everyone to enjoy, even if it means no Grammy (according to rules, nominations are only for "for sale" material)

-His gift is one from God and he plans on using it forcefully (as we all know)

-He's going to be a part of bringing Chicago back to glory

-Wesley and Spiek tried it with Chiraq

-You cannot mess with God's will (i.e. look at how far Chance made it form 79th Street in Chicago)

Throughout the song we are graced with the majestic sounds of a choir that I can only describe as sent from Heaven. The spiritual awakening that ensues as a result of their melodic undertaking is frankly unbelievable.

Finally, as the song draws to an end, Brother Kirk Franklin delivers the closing prayer. Thankfully, Kirk ignored and/or welcomed external backlash from some of the Christian community, and joined this masterpiece. His prayer, as are so many of his, is one we can all agree on as the one to petition on behalf of the group to the all-knowing ears.

Orchestrated and engineered by an overwhelmingly talented and creative group of artists, Ultralight Beam is the good news. It's the greatest news the rap music game has heard in 40 days and 40 nights.

Check out an edifying performance of the track right here:

Cover Image Credit:

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College As Told By Junie B. Jones

A tribute to the beloved author Barbara Parks.

The Junie B. Jones series was a big part of my childhood. They were the first chapter books I ever read. On car trips, my mother would entertain my sister and me by purchasing a new Junie B. Jones book and reading it to us. My favorite part about the books then, and still, are how funny they are. Junie B. takes things very literally, and her (mis)adventures are hilarious. A lot of children's authors tend to write for children and parents in their books to keep the attention of both parties. Barbara Park, the author of the Junie B. Jones series, did just that. This is why many things Junie B. said in Kindergarten could be applied to her experiences in college, as shown here.

When Junie B. introduces herself hundreds of times during orientation week:

“My name is Junie B. Jones. The B stands for Beatrice. Except I don't like Beatrice. I just like B and that's all." (Junie B. Jones and the Stupid Smelly Bus, p. 1)

When she goes to her first college career fair:

"Yeah, only guess what? I never even heard of that dumb word careers before. And so I won't know what the heck we're talking about." (Junie B. Jones and her Big Fat Mouth, p. 2)

When she thinks people in class are gossiping about her:

“They whispered to each other for a real long time. Also, they kept looking at me. And they wouldn't even stop." (Junie B., First Grader Boss of Lunch, p. 66)

When someone asks her about the library:

“It's where the books are. And guess what? Books are my very favorite things in the whole world!" (Junie B. Jones and the Stupid Smelly Bus, p. 27)

When she doesn't know what she's eating at the caf:

“I peeked inside the bread. I stared and stared for a real long time. 'Cause I didn't actually recognize the meat, that's why. Finally, I ate it anyway. It was tasty...whatever it was." (Junie B., First Grader Boss of Lunch, p. 66)

When she gets bored during class:

“I drew a sausage patty on my arm. Only that wasn't even an assignment." (Junie B. Jones Loves Handsome Warren, p. 18)

When she considers dropping out:

“Maybe someday I will just be the Boss of Cookies instead!" (Junie B., First Grader Boss of Lunch, p. 76)

When her friends invite her to the lake for Labor Day:

“GOOD NEWS! I CAN COME TO THE LAKE WITH YOU, I BELIEVE!" (Junie B. Jones Smells Something Fishy, p. 17)

When her professor never enters grades on time:

“I rolled my eyes way up to the sky." (Junie B., First Grader Boss of Lunch, p. 38)

When her friends won't stop poking her on Facebook:

“Do not poke me one more time, and I mean it." (Junie B. Jones Smells Something Fishy, p. 7)

When she finds out she got a bad test grade:

“Then my eyes got a little bit wet. I wasn't crying, though." (Junie B. Jones and the Stupid Smelly Bus, p. 17)

When she isn't allowed to have a pet on campus but really wants one:


When she has to walk across campus in the dark:

“There's no such thing as monsters. There's no such thing as monsters." (Junie B. Jones Has a Monster Under Her Bed, p. 12)

When her boyfriend breaks her heart:

“I am a bachelorette. A bachelorette is when your boyfriend named Ricardo dumps you at recess. Only I wasn't actually expecting that terrible trouble." (Junie B. Jones Is (almost) a Flower Girl, p. 1)

When she paints her first canvas:

"And painting is the funnest thing I love!" (Junie B. Jones and her Big Fat Mouth, p. 61)

When her sorority takes stacked pictures:

“The biggie kids stand in the back. And the shortie kids stand in the front. I am a shortie kid. Only that is nothing to be ashamed of." (Junie B. Jones Has a Monster Under Her Bed, p. 7)

When she's had enough of the caf's food:

“Want to bake a lemon pie? A lemon pie would be fun, don't you think?" (Junie B. Jones Has a Monster Under Her Bed p. 34)

When she forgets about an exam:

“Speechless is when your mouth can't speech." (Junie B. Jones Loves Handsome Warren, p. 54)

When she finds out she has enough credits to graduate:

“A DIPLOMA! A DIPLOMA! I WILL LOVE A DIPLOMA!" (Junie B. Jones is a Graduation Girl p. 6)

When she gets home from college:

"IT'S ME! IT'S JUNIE B. JONES! I'M HOME FROM MY SCHOOL!" (Junie B. Jones and some Sneaky Peaky Spying p. 20)

Cover Image Credit: OrderOfBooks

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Must-See Movies For Your Summer

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