On Christmas Day, Kanye West unveiled the debut album from his Sunday Service Choir, appropriately titled Jesus Is Born. The album is available on streaming platforms worldwide.
The 19-track LP acts as a companion piece, rather than a follow-up, to Kanye’s latest solo album, Jesus Is King. Jesus Is Born features musical arrangements performed exclusively by Sunday Service Choir, while West handles the production responsibilities.
Listeners can hear Sunday Service Choir original hymns and gospel renditions of Kanye West hits throughout the album. “Ultralight Beam” and “Father Stretch” are two songs from Kanye’s 2016 release The Life of Pablo that receive the Sunday Service treatment on Jesus Is Born.
Jesus Is King and Jesus Is Born are far different from what fans have come to expect from the hip-hop mogul and entrepreneur. His 2004 Grammy-winning debut album The College Dropout, for example, is a hip-hop album featuring some of the most illustrious rappers in history. Jay-Z, Mos Def, and Ludacris all made appearances on the album that interweaves themes of family, self-consciousness, religion, and racism among others. However, Kanye took a wholehearted turn toward gospel in 2019, hosting regular Sunday Service events (including a particularly large one at Coachella on Easter Sunday) and vowing to stop making secular music entirely.
Stream the full-length LP, Jesus Is Born, below.
Sunday Service Choir (Kanye West) – Jesus Is Born – Full Album
Though they are packaged quite differently, many of the same themes from previous albums are present in Jesus Is Born. In a recent interview with Zane Lowe on Beats 1, West described his unapologetic reasoning for taking a turn towards gospel music. “Everything I do, even designing a shoe, is for the Church…It’s my only mission and calling—to spread the gospel,” he explained.
He even made a point to comment on his mental health, which made national headlines after it led to a hospitalization and cancellation of a national tour a few years back: “They want to make the conversation always be about mental health. And I do love the fact that I can show the world that I’m sitting here, and I have been diagnosed and medicated—a medication that has been designed to make me fat…they’re trying to kill the superhero.”
Kanye has no plans of slowing down despite what fans may think of his new direction. In fact, West plans on teaming up with the legendary producer Dr. Dre on his follow-up to Jesus Is King, appropriately titled Jesus Is King Part II, though no details on a release date are available. Furthermore, West continues to mount weekly Sunday Service Experience performances, as he’s done all year.
You can get a taste of the Sunday Service Experience with this full-show video from 11/3/19 at The Forum in Los Angeles, California.
Kanye West – Sunday Service Experience – 11/3/19