HITS Daily Double


Kanye West, who held his Jesus Is King “Album and Film Experience” at L.A.'s Forum on Wednesday, will next hold a Jesus Is King Sunday Service Experience this Sunday at the Forum. Tickets go on sale at noon PT.

There is also a Jesus Is King merch pop-up store that opens at noon today at 1202-1210 Mateo St. in Los Angeles. It will be open 11am to 8pm on Saturday and 11am to. 7pm Sunday.

On Wednesday—as is often the case with West events—fans, industry players, artists and celebs filled the arena despite having only two days’ notice, not knowing what to expect from the polarizing superstar.

Present at the event were Recording Academy boss Deborah Dugan, Grammy EP Ken Ehrlich, Kim and Kourtney Kardashian, Big Sean, Tame Impala’s Kevin Parker, Travis Barker and of course, Def Jam execs.

Fans gathered on the floor of the Forum—which included plant installations and nature sounds (reflecting Arizona’s desert backdrop)—in front of a massive screen to view the IMAX film, Jesus Is King. The rest of the audience sat in the side of the arena across from the screen.

The 30-minute film is visually stunning. Utilizing James Turrell’s Roden Crater in Arizona as the arena for West’s Sunday Service choir, it consists of a handful of performances within the modern-art installation. West doesn’t appear in the film until the halfway point and there is no voice over, just songs with Bible scripture appearing on chyrons in between. The choir interpolated key material from West’s catalog, including 808s’ “Streetlight” and Pablo’s “Ultralight Beam.”

After the film finished, the excited fans on the floor began chanting for Kanye, and Yeezus joined the crowd, appearing on a nature installation as a makeshift stage.

Upon hitting the Forum floor, West grabbed a controller and began playing his new G.O.O.D./Def Jam album. One thing is clear: Kanye’s ability to connect with his fan base is unparalleled. When the music begins—despite the Jesus references, despite the fact he wore a MAGA hat and despite the assertions of some that his creativity has peaked—his fans are all in. They’re not listening to a gospel/Christian album. They’re hearing a Kanye West album. (The following day, 'Ye tweeted out the 11-cut tracklist, which appears below).

And the production hits like a Kanye West album. Standout bangers include “Closed on Sunday,” which the audience was able to sing back to West after hearing the hook one time. “Closed on Sunday, you’re my Chick-Fil-A” was the most memorable line of the night and seems destined for meme/caption glory. The track also transitions to a verse with a blistering staccato synth riff. Even the haters can only nod and grin after hearing a line that silly combined with a beat that hard.

The middle of the album is filled with classic West production; chopped-up soul samples behind stellar beats. Notable features included Clipse, Kenny G, Ty Dolla $ign and Francis and the Lights. Although the album contains plenty of Jesus references, it still plays like a Kanye West project, minus the vulgarity.

But hey, that’s what we’re for.