From Yeezus to Jesus: Kanye fans should not fear his gospel attempt

Kanye’s attempts at gospel during his live shows have proven that fans should not fear a spiritual Kanye.

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From Yeezus to Jesus: Kanye fans should not fear his gospel attempt

Kanye West shifts his music to gospel instead of secular music.

Kanye West shifts his music to gospel instead of secular music.

Courtesy of FORBES

Kanye West shifts his music to gospel instead of secular music.

Courtesy of FORBES

Courtesy of FORBES

Kanye West shifts his music to gospel instead of secular music.

Sammy Newcomer, Freelance Writer

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With his new album “Jesus is King” releasing this fall, Kanye West once again turned to his pre-album release routine of making bold claims to keep himself in the spotlight. Although the album has been pushed multiple times from its original release date, select fans had the opportunity to hear the album at listening parties in Chicago, New York and Detroit.

SHIFT TO GOSPEL

In addition to debuting his album, Kanye also made some audacious comments about the future of his career. Music blogger Andrew Barber, who heard the album and saw the accompanying film, tweeted about Kanye’s decision to stop making secular music, a surprising, yet very intriguing and promising decision.

This follows a theme in West’s work this year. Although it may come as a surprise to casual listeners, Kanye’s work has been primarily spiritually-centered this year. Throughout the year, Kanye has toured the nation with his “Sunday services,” a concert series of gospel and worship music led by the rapper himself. Concerts have included gospel-inspired versions of famous tracks, including “Jesus Walks,” “Father Stretch My Hands Pt. 1” and other traditional gospel songs. The concerts are loud, triumphant events accompanied by a gospel choir dressed in Yeezy apparel and full bands with a wide range of instruments infused by Kanye’s production.

This spiritual turn has left many Christians concerned. A rapper often singing about sex, power and wealth turning to worship music, selling expensive merchandise at an exclusive “church service,” has been a point of contention for many Christians. These are valid criticisms. Yet strictly from a musical perspective, Kanye fans have no need to fear. 

DIVERSIFIED ARTIST

The Sunday services, along with being a platform for Kanye’s spirituality, have been an amazing demonstration of Kanye’s musical ability. In Kanye’s modified version of “Father Stretch My Hands Pt. 1” for his Chicago Sunday service, he removed all explicit lyrics and rap verses and replaced them with worshipful verses. The song has been interlaced with trumpets and a choir, adding a beautiful gospel style to the rap hit. Yet the song, along with the rest of the service, was still heavily infused with Kanye’s excellent production and style. Kanye still finds creative ways to sample, mixing house hit “Brighter Days” and the background vocals of his own “Dark Fantasy” into his performances.

Kanye’s upcoming gospel album is said to have much of the same musical elements heard in the Sunday services. Early listeners report the album contains the same gospel choir sounds heard in the services, yet the album is not completely devoid of rapping. While the production is more minimal than previous records, it still seems clear that this is still very much a Kanye album. 

ONLY TIME WILL TELL

It is worth noting that Kanye is a man of many promises, but rarely a man of his word. His upcoming album was originally announced as “Yhandi,” a follow-up to “Yeezus,” and was slated for a November 2018 release date. The album was then placed on hold before being re-announced as “Jesus is King” and slated for a Sept. 27, 2019 release date. The album then was again postponed indefinitely. This is the same man who claimed to be running for president in 2020. Although Kanye claims to be done with secular music, only time will tell if this will truly be the case.

Kanye has proved himself as an artist who is no longer bound by one genre, one style of music or even one job in the industry. His previous discography proves his versatility and ability to make great hip-hop songs with a wide range of influences and sounds. His recent concerts have proven that Ye’s style proves very well with the sound of gospel music. If Kanye is telling the truth, fans should not fear for the quality of his work.