Review: Kanye West – ‘Ultralight Prayer’

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Kirk Franklin deserves artistic credit for 'Ultralight Prayer' - an incredibly powerful track that includes a message that West's voice could not portray.

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“Life of Pablo is a living breathing changing creative expression”, tweets West before releasing an updated version of the track ‘Wolves’ from the very same album. And now, he has released an alternate version to ‘Ultralight Beam’, the album’s opening track, recruiting the vocals of Kirk Franklin and Kelly Price. The updated track relies solely on the warm vocal chords of the duo, with an absence of instrumentation and Kanye West himself. In fact, it sounds like one of the few complete songs from the album.

If West strived to set the album’s tone as gospel, then ‘Ultralight Prayer’ is what was needed as the opening song. In comparison to ‘Ultralight Beam’, ‘Prayer’ consists of an almighty preach sample by well-known American Gospel performer, Kirk Franklin, accompanied by the soulful melodies of Kelly Price. It is by no coincidence that this track was released on Easter Sunday. By preaching of the resurrection of Jesus, Franklin is reaching out to those people who believe that God will not accept them for their flaws. “Let them know that’s why you took the nail / so we could have eternal life /
 If all God’s children would get down on their knees and pray / 
And give up all of those things that pull our hearts away”.

It is currently not known whether ‘Ultralight Prayer’ serves as a solitary track or if it will feature on the album but The Life of Pablo’s messy history can lead one to presume it will make an appearance. From half a million pirate copies of the album being downloaded a day after its release on Tidal to entirely reworking ‘Wolves’ by adding verses from Sia and Vic Mensa, and by isolating Frank Ocean’s outro as its own song, it won’t exactly be the most radical change to occur.

‘Ultralight Prayer’ is available to stream now via Soundcloud.

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