For the second consecutive year, rap artist Kanye West has released a surprise album on Christmas Day to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. This year’s EP is called Emmanuel, defined in Scripture as “God with us.”
While West’s surprise Christmas project is more of an EP than a full length album, it’s certainly something that will garner attention due to its unfamiliar medieval style.
From start to finish, the five-song album lasts just 12 minutes and sounds nothing like his previous Christian albums, Jesus Is King and Jesus Is Born.
The album, written and executive produced by West, is described as “ancient and Latin inspired new music.” All music was performed by West’s Sunday Service Choir.
Similar to West’s Jesus is King album he released in the fall of 2019, Emmanuel is dubbed a “celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ.” The album name comes from Matthew 1:23:
“Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.”
West’s surprise album is his first studio project since dropping Jesus Is Born on Dec. 25, 2019, which skyrocketed to No. 1 on the gospel charts.
Earlier that year, West had begun reinventing his musical style by using a gospel choir. His Sunday Service events reimagined mainstream songs with Christian lyrics. During the process, West announced he had become a born-again Christian.
Several months later, he released his first full-length gospel album Jesus Is King. Upon its release, the album topped the Gospel Albums, Christian Albums, and the all-genre Billboard 200 charts. A year later and Jesus Is King still sits at No. 1 and captured the top Billboard spot for 2020’s Top Gospel Albums.
According to Screen Rant, West had been working on a new music and an accompanying movie during the summer. Fans were speculating West was going to release a new album by the name of Donda. The “Jesus Walks” artist named his latest project after his mother, who passed away in 2007.
While the Donda album was never released, West did share the cover art on Twitter in July. Whether Donda was shelved for the time being due to the release of Emmanuel has yet to be determined.
Fans expect more information on his latest non-Christian album in early 2021. While West’s latest releases over the last year may not be for everyone, his music variety and boldness to try new things is to be respected.