The Year in Christian & Gospel Charts 2019: Kanye West Is Top Gospel Artist

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Kanye West performs onstage during his "Jesus Is King" album and film experience at The Forum on Oct. 23, 2019 in Inglewood, Calif.

Kanye West adds a new achievement to his awards case, as the superstar finishes 2019 as Billboard's Top Gospel Artist, thanks to the success of his album Jesus Is King. He also closes out the year as the No. 2 act on the year-end Top Christian Artists list, trailing Lauren Daigle.   

Billboard’s year-end music recaps are based on chart performance during the charts dated Nov. 24, 2018, to Nov. 16, 2019. Data registered before or after a title’s chart run is not considered in these standings. That methodology detail, and the December-to-November time period, account for some of the differences between these lists and the calendar-year recaps that are independently compiled by Nielsen Music.   

Explore All of Billboard's 2019 Year-End Charts

West’s first spiritual album, Jesus Is King, debuted atop the weekly Top Christian Albums and Top Gospel Albums charts, as well as the all-genre Billboard 200 on the tallies dated Nov. 9, with 264,000 equivalent album units earned in its first week, according to Nielsen Music. The set marked the biggest unit week on Top Christian Albums and Top Gospel Albums since Billboard began measuring the weekly popularity of albums by equivalent album units earned in late 2014. Jesus Is King is the No. 2 album for the year on Top Christian Albums recap and the year-end No. 1 on Top Gospel Albums.

Additionally, the album sparked history on both Hot Christian Songs and Hot Gospel Songs. West became the first artist to occupy the entire top 10 on both lists, which were launched in 2003 and 2005, respectively. On Hot Gospel Songs, the hip-hop superstar actually monopolized the top 11, thanks to every song from the album.

Notably, Jesus Is King and its songs only had two weeks of activity during the 2019 chart year (which ended on Nov. 16) to make an impact on the year-end lists -- however, that impact clearly was huge. 

Coming in at No. 2 on the Top Gospel Artists recap for 2019 is Kirk Franklin. His Long Live Love album closes the year as the No. 2 title on the Top Gospel Albums roundup, while his smash “Love Theory” crowns the year-end Hot Gospel Songs list and is No. 2 on the year-end Gospel Airplay Songs chart. The track dominated Hot Gospel Songs for 39 frames after entering at No. 1 on Feb. 9. It ruled the weekly Gospel Airplay for 15 weeks after reaching the summit on April 27.

Meanwhile, Billboard’s top Gospel female artist for 2019 is Tasha Cobbs Leonard. Among all gospel artists, Leonard came in third.  

Leonard’s LP, Heart. Passion. Pursuit.: Live at Passion City Church opened at the Top Gospel Albums pinnacle on Nov. 17, 2018, awarding the artist with her fourth leader.

The album’s "You Know My Name (Live)" is No. 4 on the year-end Gospel Airplay Songs list and No. 7 on Hot Gospel Songs. The track initially crowned Gospel Airplay, leading the chart the week of Oct. 19; giving Leonard her third No. 1. On Hot Gospel Songs “Name” reached No. 2 in February.

The Tri-City Singers finish at No. 1 on the year-end Top Gospel Artists - Duo/Group roundup. The act’s name represents the three cities which the members of the choir originate from: Spartanburg, SC, Gastonia, NC and Charlotte, NC. The group is widely known as Gospel artist Donald Lawrence’s key collaborators. In February, Donald Lawrence Presents the Tri-City Singers’ Goshen started at No. 2 on Top Gospel Albums with 2,000 units.

Also, the set’s lead single; “Deliver Me (This is My Exodus)” which also featured Le’ Andria Johnson, placed as the No. 1 song for 2019 on Gospel Airplay. It comes in at No. 3 on the year-end Hot Gospel Songs ranking.

Plus, Billboard’s No. 1 year-end Top New Gospel Artist is Fred Jerkins, who is also known as “Uncle Freddie.” Jerkins, an Atlanta native and recognized as a producer before venturing out as an artist, sent his debut solo-single, “Victory,” featuring Last Call, to No. 1 on Gospel Airplay on the chart dated April 13 for its first of two weeks atop the list. It peaked at No.3 on Hot Gospel Songs. “Victory” is No. 6 on the year-end Gospel Airplay survey and No. 23 on Hot Gospel Songs.

2019 Billboard Year in Music


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