Santa wasn’t the only one who delivered gifts on Christmas.
Rapper Kayne West, who has made national headlines with his pop-up Sunday Service worship gatherings, dropped a new gospel album called Jesus is Born on Christmas Day. The album – which West announced via Twitter on Wednesday - was released under the name of Sunday Service, not his own.
The album is made up of 19 tracks including one called “Revelations 19:1” and another called “Father Stretch.” I-Tunes has marked both of these songs along with two others – “Back to Life” and “Souls Anchored” – as popular tracks on the newly released record. West is the executive producer of the Eighty-four minutes long album. The song list includes “Count Your Blessings,” "Satan We're Gonna Tear Your Kingdom Down," "Balm in Gilead," “Sweet Grace,” “Follow Me — Faith,” and "That's How the Lord Works" among others.
The Grammy winner began hosting large gatherings known as Sunday Services, with its fiery Sunday Service Choir and gospel sermons, in January. As Christian Headlines reported last month, West appeared at Joel Osteen’s mega congregation, Lakewood Church, where his Sunday Service Choir performed. West then brought his gospel choir to a local jail where they performed for inmates. In April, they played at the prominent Southern California music festival, Coachella and in November, 1,000 people accepted Christ during a Sunday Service in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
In a press release shared on PJ Media, the Sunday Service was described as "an idea we had to open up our hearts to make music that we felt was as pure and as positive as possible and just do it for an hour every Sunday, and have something where people can just come together and feel good with their families. The Service features gospel-inspired remixes of classic songs of different genres, and also straight forward, choir-led gospel tunes. The mix of hip hop and spirituality has drawn great crowds and continues to inspire globally."
The Christmas release of Jesus is Born follows two months to the day the drop of his first gospel project, “Jesus is King.” According to Billboard, the first effort debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart and was West’s ninth chart-topper, tying the record previously held by Eminem for most consecutive No. 1 albums. Every song on that 11-track album landed on the Hot 100, with "Follow God" peaking at No. 7 on that chart.
Much of the conversation surrounding the Christmas Day album centered around the fact that it was delivered on time, prompting USA Today to call it a “Christmas Miracle.” In October, West announced the project would be released on Dec. 25, but there were skeptics since West has earned a reputation for missing previously announced project drop dates. As USA Today reported, Rolling Stone mocked the timeline saying, “the announcement that he’ll deliver a Sunday Service album by Christmas remains the most ludicrous part of the entire discussion.”
In addition to the albums and Sunday Service, West has also produced several live, gospel-based operas, including “Mary,” performed this month in New York and Miami, and “Nebuchadnezzar” in November at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles.
Photo courtesy: ©Getty Images/Rich Fury/Staff
Lori Arnold is a national award-winning journalist whose experience includes 16 years at a daily community newspaper in San Diego and 16 years as writer-editor for the Christian Examiner. She owns StoryLori Media and is a member of the Evangelical Press Association.