Kanye West is done releasing secular music. During a weekend listening for his as-yet-unreleased new album Jesus Is King, the hip-hop polymath announced he would be making only gospel music from now on.
Kanye broke the news onstage during a listening event held in his hometown of Chicago on Saturday. “Kanye also announced that he is no longer making secular music. Only Gospel from here on out,” recounted Fake Shore Drive’s Andrew Barber in a tweet.
Kanye also announced that he is no longer making secular music. Only Gospel from here on out.
— Andrew Barber (@fakeshoredrive) September 29, 2019
The announcement shouldn’t come as a big surprise to those who’ve followed the MC’s recent actions. After becoming a “born-again Christian”, he’s regularly held Sunday Service gospel sessions for months now, and even presented one at Coachella, complete with exclusive religious merchandise.
Jesus is King seems to be his first statement as this new Kanye. The follow-up to last year’s ye reportedly features no curse words from “either West or his collaborators (Ty Dolla Sign, Pusha T, No Malice) and instead focused almost exclusively on religious salvation,” per New York Times journalist Joe Coscarelli, who attended Kanye’s listening party at United Palace in New York on Sunday,
“In song, West also alluded to his public struggles in recent years with lines like “I came to you empty/free of my pride” and “Told the devil that I’m going on a strike/I’ve been working for him my whole life.” On the track “Selah,” he referenced “Yandhi,” the album he had planned to release last November, and seemed to point to religion as the reason it was shelved: “Everybody wanted ‘Yandhi,’” he rapped, “and Jesus did the laundry.”
The Chicago rapper elaborated more on his spiritual voyage while onstage in NYC, saying “he wasn’t quite delivered and fully saved” up until recently. “This has been an incredible journey,” West remarked, according to Coscarelli.
“By having the luxury of having an amazing choir around me every Sunday, I came to know the truth and the joy of Jesus Christ,” continued Yeezy. “This album has been made to be an expression of the gospel and to share the gospel and the truth of what Jesus has done to me. When I think of the goodness of Jesus and all that he does for me, my soul cries out.”
Kanye also used his NYC listening party to reveal the album cover artwork for Jesus is King, as Uproxx points out.
If I could describe this album cover it would be Biblical Art piece meets Microsoft Paint.
— Sam (@SAMSEESGH0STS) September 30, 2019
Jesus is King was originally supposed to drop last Friday, September 27th, but then was pushed back to Sunday. However, that release day has also come and gone without the record or an updated due date.
The rapper is expected to issue an accompanying movie on October 25th. The IMAX film of the same name features a performance of Sunday Service at Roden Crater, James Turrell’s naked-eye volcano conservatory in Flagstaff, Arizona.
Check out some footage from Kanye’s listening event and Sunday Service in NYC this past weekend.