With the project’s status in limbo, Kanye West delivered on his promise to serve up Jesus Is Born on Christmas Day (Dec. 25) and turn fans’ festive gatherings into a holy sanctuary. The album promptly arrived at 3:00 p.m. ET on DSPs and finds the Sunday Service Choir that Ye has traveled the globe with, starring front-and-center.
Jesus Is Born enjoys a runtime over an hour, while spanning a lengthy 19 tracks. West’s transformation adds another chapter to his story of serving God, as his attention in music could turn to working on the Jesus Is King sequel that he teased earlier in 2019 with Dr. Dre.
Here are five things we took away from Jesus Is Born.
This Is Not a Kanye West Album
First off, fans should know this definitely isn’t a Kanye West album, but more so a Kanye West production. Yeezy doesn’t rap one bar on the project, where he serves as the orchestrator bringing his Sunday Service sermon to life through an album format. West’s name isn’t mentioned in the artist section for the project, and the album wasn’t released under his G.O.O.D. Music label.
The Life of Pablo Could’ve Been a Gospel Album
Back in 2016, Kanye turned to gospel as one of the influences on his The Life of Pablo album, where he examined the complexities of being famous. He didn’t quite execute his vision of diving head-first into his religious roots, as the project remained a secular body of work. Standouts such as “Ultralight Beam” and “Father Stretch My Hands Pt. 1” have been Sunday Service staples, and they shine through with a gospel rework on Jesus Is Born.
“Revelations 19:1” Was Sampled on Jesus Is King‘s “Selah”
It’s no secret the weekly Sunday Service productions served as an inspiration for Kanye’s 2019 Jesus Is King album. The choir is actually sampled on “Selah.” The same thunderous roars of “Hallelujah” from Jesus Is Born‘s “Revelations 19:1” can be heard on JIK‘s “Selah.” Yeezy also references a pair of Bible verses on the gospel track with John 8:33 and John 8:36.
Kanye is an SWV Fan
West is all about bringing certain elements of music to places where listeners wouldn’t normally expect. Yeezy stripped down a pair of SWV classics in 1997’s “Rain” and It’s About Time‘s “Weak” to put a gospel spin on the R&B tunes. The “Weak” cover has been a Sunday Service setlist staple throughout the year.
The Sunday Service Choir Can Stand on Their Own
It remains to be seen what other projects Kanye West has in store for the Sunday Service Choir. Either way, the choir showcased their ability to the world that otherwise may have never heard them. They’ve also become one of the few choirs known in America’s mainstream music scene thanks to West’s Sunday Service popularity, and it doesn’t seem like Kanye has any plans to pivot off his Christian rebirth.