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Is Kanye West’s Jesus Is King a digital Sunday service?


In the span of six short years, Kanye West has gone from singing, “I am a God,” to proclaiming, “Jesus is King.”

It was 2013 when he announced, “ I am a God / Even though I’m a man of God / My whole life in the hands of God / So y’all better quit playing with God.”

“I made that song because I am a god,” he told W Magazine after the song dropped on Yeezus. “I don’t think there’s much more explanation.”

Years later, the rapper has changed his tune. “Now that I’m in service to Christ, my job is to spread the gospel, to let people know what Jesus has done for me,” West recently told Apple Music in an extensive interview, which included other surprising revelations.

While working on his latest album, West said he asked album collaborators to fast and to abstain from premarital sex. “This is gonna be radical what I’m about to say,” he said. “But seriously there’s times I went to people that were working on other projects and said could you just work and focus on this?”

The new album, which was promised in first in September and then at midnight on Friday, finally dropped it on Friday afternoon, to the relief of many weary fans.

With such a long buildup to the album’s release, the hype could have overshadowed the album itself — that is, if the album hadn’t delivered. If early fan reactions are any indication, it’s a hit. Millennials will be captioning their Instagram photos, “Closed on Sunday, you’re my Chick-fil-A” for years to come.

Jesus is King, true to its thematic promise, opens with the hymn-like Every Hour, sung by West and the Sunday Service Choir. In God Is, West sings, “Listen to the words I’m sayin’, Jesus saved me, now I’m sane.”

Many observers were thrilled by what they saw a genuine religious conversion in the rapper, but others remained skeptical. West addresses the criticism on Hands On: “ Said I’m finna do a gospel album / What have you been hearin’ from the Christians? / They’ll be the first one to judge me / Make it feel like nobody love me.

In typical fashion, he lets critique roll off his back. During his Apple Music interview, West called himself “undoubtedly the greatest human artist of all time.” (To those frustrated by his album’s late release, he could easily quote his 2007 hit Stronger: “You should be honored by my lateness / That I would even show up to this fake shit.”)

West has lately been in the news for presiding over his newly created Sunday Service, which features a gospel choir and a weekly who’s who in spiritually inclined celebrities. The album flows like one of West’s secretive gatherings in the hills of California. Exuberant and eclectic, it appeals to a new audience, one you never could have expected to flock to religion, or to West.