More than a week after the release of Kanye West’s divisive Jesus Is King album, the surprises keep coming, with Jack White’s Third Man Records uncovering a nifty detail about the album cover.
If you found yourself listening to Kanye West’s controversial Jesus Is King album upon its release, a distinct lack of classic bangers may have found you turning your attention to the record’s artwork instead to pass the time.
If you did, you likely would have realised the minimal art direction that Kanye used is rather similar to that of 2013’s Yeezus, though that isn’t what we’re here to discuss.
Despite being released via the Def Jam label, many fans overlooked the fact that a catalogue number of “AR 1331 A” graced the centre label of the record on the cover; a number that does not follow the regular system Def Jam would use on their releases.
Now, Ben Blackwell of Jack White’s Third Man Records has put this mini mystery to rest, explaining that its origins actually add another whole level to the Jesus Is King story.
Third Man archivist and Detroit music historian Ben Blackwell has cracked the code on the mystery of what “AR 1331 A” means on Kanye’s "Jesus Is King" artwork. It’s the Archer Records (AR) pressing plant code assigned to this 1970 Detroit gospel single. @kanyewest @KimKardashian pic.twitter.com/ChOn1S4eZc
— Third Man Records (@thirdmanrecords) November 1, 2019
Taking to Twitter yesterday, Third Man Records explained that the number is “the Archer Records (AR) pressing plant code assigned to this 1970 Detroit gospel single.”
The single in question was recorded by Rubye Shelton and features the tracks ‘I Want The World To Know Jesus’ and ‘God’s Going To Destroy This Nation’ on the A-side, seemingly following the theme that Kanye has followed on the new record.
It doesn’t end there though, with Blackwell noting that the B-side features songs titled ‘The Hypocrite’ and ‘Come Out Of The Valley’.
In a statement offered up to Pitchfork, Blackwell joked, “I knew the past decade spent in the deepest, loneliest recesses of Archer Record Pressing nerd-dom would eventually lead me to the biggest recording artist in the world. But enough about Jack White…who is this Kanye guy?”
Although Jesus Is King might have scored mixed reviews, it still managed to debut at #1 on the ARIA charts over the weekend. Maybe fans were so taken by Kanye’s attention to detail when it comes to ’70s gospel records that they just couldn’t resist giving it a listen? Yeah, that must be it.