Kanye West Brings 'Jesus Is King' Experience to New York City
“Can I bring the gospel to New York real quick?”, Kanye West asked a roaring crowd at United Palace Sunday night.
After holding Sunday Service at The Greater Allen A.M.E. Cathedral of New York in Queens, Kanye headed over to Washington Heights where he previewed two films, as well as played his forthcoming album, "Jesus is King," for hundreds of fans.
The line to enter the venue stretched across a couple of blocks with many fans wearing merch from various Kanye West tours.
Upon entering the venue, everyone was required to lock their cell phones in a Yondr pouch, restricting the recording of audio and video during the listening party.
Once inside, fans scrambled to find the best seats in the house while others stood in line for New York themed Sunday Service merchandise.
Members of Kanye’s choir and notable figures such as Chris Rock and designer ASAP Bari were among those who made their way to the VIP section of the venue. A bit after the scheduled start time, the lights went down and Kanye strolled into the theater as everyone cheered.
The event began with a preview of a documentary following Kanye’s latest architectural endeavours in Calabasas. This was followed by a preview of an IMAX film that’s seemingly all about Sunday Service, the Kanye-led musical and spiritual experience that’s been held in several different states all over the country. The artist's children, North and Saint West, danced on-stage along to the gospel tracks heard in various scenes of the film.
After briefly discussing how Sunday Service has allowed him to strengthen his relationship with God, Kanye began playing his new album. Fans rushed towards the front of the venue, climbing over chairs and filling the aisles.
A blend of soulful samples, traditional gospel, and thumping hip hop drums had the crowd bobbing their heads to this unique sound that we’ve never quite heard from Kanye before. However, we still get the same energy and wittiness that Kanye always delivers.
On one song, he sang, “Closed on Sunday, you’re my Chick-Fil-A”. While playing this song a second time, the crowd already knew the words to the memorable hook. On another track, he raps about his faith over a melodic hip hop soundscape produced by Pierre Bourne.
Just before Kanye closed the event, he played the final track on his album, “Use This Gospel”. This song was met with great energy around the theater as fans cheered upon hearing the artists featured on the track. After the final track ended, Kanye expressed his love for the crowd and exited the theater.
Jesus is King: A Kanye West Experience was controlled chaos, but in quite a beautiful and unique way that reflects Kanye himself.
Fans still await the release of Kanye’s forthcoming album after multiple unfulfilled release dates.