Remember when Kanye West said he was going to release an album and then didn’t? Remember when he did that about seven times (Turbografx, Wolves, Cruel Winter, Love Everyone, Watch the Throne 2, Yandhi)? Well, me too, but it seems that West’s newfound devotion to God coincides with a newfound devotion to respecting release dates. On Christmas Day, he delivered on his promise of a second album in 2019 with Jesus is Born, an entire gospel album by the Sunday Service Choir.
While Jesus is King felt mostly like a rap album with nods to gospel musical and lyrical themes, Jesus is Born features no appearances from West himself, instead being 19 tracks of pure choral arrangements. Attentive ‘Ye fans will recognize several of the songs from recent Sunday Service performances, as well as a couple choral renditions of the man’s songs. Perhaps most exciting are the Christian covers of classic R&B tracks. There’s SWV’s timeless “Weak,” as well as a jaw-dropping extrapolation of Ginuwine’s horny anthem “So Anxious” with all the sex removed and replaced with Jesus. You’ve gotta hear it to believe it!
Jesus is Born makes 2019 one of Kanye’s most prolific years ever. In addition to Jesus is King, the rapper has dropped two operas, toured a huge amount, released a few music videos and sold some inimitable merch. It seems he’s back out of his coma, so to speak! If you’re a Kanye fan, gospel fan, pop culture oddity fan or a Christian, check out Jesus is Born on streaming services now and celebrate the holidays the right way.
- Ben Mangelsdorf