Kanye West Redefining Gospel

Inventing Yeezus

Kanye West was born on June 8, 1977 in Atlanta, GA. He is a rapper, music producer, and fashion designer.

Early Career

West entered the music business at the age of 19 by writing songs for the well known Chicago rapper Grav. During this time, he would go on to be a ghost producer for many artist in the 90’s. West became a notable person in the music industry after producing Foxy Brown’s “Chyna Doll.” This song would earn her the title of being the first hip hop female to debut an album at the top of the Billboard 200 in the United States during her first week of sales. Kanye would later make a name for himself as an independent artist following his near fatal car accident when he released the song “Through The Wire.” After this song, his rap career would take off becoming one of the most famous rappers in the 21st century. 

Kanye's Road To Gospel Music

In 2019, Kanye West began his Sunday Service Sessions. These services were largely held in private but the public would be introduced to these services through social media. His performances during this time put a contemporary gospel twist on some of Kanye’s biggest rap hits. These private performances would soon come to the public eye in 2020 when his new project was brought to Coachella in April where he had singers and dancers that performed on a mountain side. 

Jesus is King

Kanye released Jesus is King on October 25 which was the first gospel album released by West and his Sunday Service Choir. In the album, the choir sings two songs acapella that puts a modern twist on Shirley Caesars,”Satan We’re Gonna Tear Your Kingdom Down” and Richard Smallwood’s song “Total Praise.” The other songs kept the focus on the choirs dynamic voices but were accompanied with horns and tremble drum patterns that resembled his earlier music. This album is notably known for taking secular songs and turning the lyrics into songs about God. Kanye West wrote these songs while reflecting on his career and to give thanks for God’s mercy as he looked back at his shortcomings

How This Modern Twist On Gospel Shook The Culture

West’s album dominated the top ten spots on Billboard’s Hot Christian Songs and Hot Gospel Songs charts. The album would also be ranked top three on other Billboard charts as well as the Top Rap Album.  His gospel album provided a authentic mix of secular and gospel music to create an album that would appeal to the younger generation. West new sound and Sunday Services are redefining what it means to go to church whether it is through changing “church attire” or to the new sounds of Gospel music.  

Kanye West would win a Grammy for this album for best Contemporary Christian music album. He would also go on to be named songwriter of the year at the 2021 BMI (Broadcast music, INC.) awards for trailblazers of Gospel Music Awards for his songs “Hands On,” “On God,” and “Selah.” 

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