It’s a miracle: Kanye West finally released his ninth studio album, ‘Jesus Is King.’ Church is in session, so turn to the book of Ye and listen to Kanye’s new record.
Praise Yeezus, because Jesus Is King is actually here. Kanye West finally fulfilled his promise to deliver unto his fans his ninth studio album, and it was good (or, in the case of his music label, G.O.O.D.) After failing to provide the promised album in 2018, Kanye looked to reward the faithful by releasing his highly-anticipated follow-up to Ye in late September. Lo, when the deadline came and went with no album, the flock grew loud with discontent. Ye maintained the covenant by releasing the album on Oct. 25. As indicated by the album’s title, the DaVinci-code clues in JIK’s announcement, and the numerous Sunday Service performances, Kanye’s new record is religious in nature.
On Aug. 29, Kim Kardashian first tweeted out the news that Jesus Is King would be released on Sept. 27. She also included a picture of a proposed track listing, but that underwent a change, with Kim tweeting out the updated song list on the day of its release. Weeks went by and there was no JIK. Kanye continued his revival tour around the country, performing his Sunday Service shows in cities like New York, Chicago and Detroit. Finally, he broke his nine-month Twitter vow of silence to tweet that yes, his album would be released on Oct. 25.
Kanye’s ninth album was initially titled Yandhi, and it was supposed to drop on Sept. 29, 2018. Ahead of the proposed release, Kanye shared a photo of a clear-cased MiniDisc with a light purple tag on Twitter. The image was immediately recognized as an updated version of 2013’s Yeezus. The release of Yandhi was supposed to coincide with Kanye’s appearance on the season premiere of Saturday Night Live. Much like those in the studio who endured Kanye’s post-SNL rant, fans were left disappointed and confused when Yandhi didn’t show up. Kim Kardashian tweeted on Oct. 1 that the album would be pushed back a month. “Nov. 23 Black Friday YANDHI TRUST ME it is worth the wait,” she wrote. Sadly, Ye would prove this prophecy false.
“It felt so good being on the stage last night with my brother [Kid Cudi.] After performing again, I realize the new album I’ve been working on isn’t ready yet,” Kanye tweeted on Nov. 13, after the debut Kids See Ghosts concert. “I’ll announce the release date once it’s done. Thank you for understanding.”
So, how did Yandhi end up as Jesus Is King? Partial credit may go to Chance The Rapper. Kanye tweeted on Dec. 15, 2018, that Chance “demanding that we record in Chicago reconnected me with my roots and also my faith in Jesus Christ.” Chance, while speaking with Beats 1’s Zane Lowe, suggested that his friendship with Kanye aided the discovery. “I can’t pinpoint a moment when it was like, Ye, has his—I don’t even know what to call it—his revelation, but he does often like, reference me when he talks about it, and I think that’s important,” he said, per Complex. “I think fellowship is the most important thing, period, and if we can’t talk about faith, then it’s like, ‘Why are we talking?’ ”
“We will change the world,” Kanye tweeted on Jan. 1, 2019. “God is on my side. I am a Christian. I am a taxpayer. I am myself. God is with us.” From there, Ye kicked off his weekly Sunday Service performances. The events, which utilize a Christian choir often dressed in plain grey clothing, feature “gospel-ized” versions of popular music. Kanye performed his Sunday Service at Coachella (on Easter Sunday) and brought his new traveling show (and his new line of merchandise, including the $50 socks) to his fans. On the Sunday before Jesus Is King’s release (Sept. 22), Kanye brought the service to the massive state he bought in Cody, Wyoming. The event, according to Billboard, featured gospel covers of Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit” and “Come As You Are.” Kanye would perform these Sunday Services in New York,
Whether or not Jesus Is King will compare favorably to 808s & Heartbreak, Graduation or My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy remains to be seen. However, Yandhi hasn’t wholly vanished for good. Several unfished versions of the lost album were leaked online in July. The project featured appearances by Nicki Minaj, Ty Dolla $ign, and the late XXXTentacion, a rapper perhaps more controversial than Kanye himself.