Kanye West's Jesus Is King: What we know so far about the new album

Harriet Brewis
Kanye West announced the hotly-anticipated release date on Twitter: Getty Images

Kanye West’s ninth studio album is finally set to drop – again.

After a spate of delays and dashed hopes, it looks like this time it will really happen. Kanye broke a 10-month Twitter silence to announce the date of the long-awaited release, and has now posted a short trailer on YouTube confirming the date - as well as giving a sneak peak of some new music.

So, with just two days to go till Ye-day, here's everything we know so far about one of the most hotly anticipated drops of the year.

Is Jesus is King really going to be released on Friday?

Yes – or rather, everything is pointing that way.

Not only has Yeezy made his own announcement on Twitter, but the date also marks the opening of the accompanying IMAX documentary ‘Jesus is King - A Kanye West Film’ – more on that below.

A new video has also been posted on West's offical YouTube page, re-confirming the date and also revealing a 13-second snippet of what seems like a song from the album.

Still, fans still sore from unfulfilled promises may choose to err on the side of scepticism: West had previously said the album would be out on Friday September 27, going so far as to post a track list to his website.

Wife Kim Kardashian West fed the hype with her own assurances, first teasing the date on Instagram in August and then retweeting a post nearer the time, writing: “2 more days Jesus is King."

Nevertheless, the album failed to emerge, with the rapper-producer later explaining he was “making it better for y’all.”

What will ‘Jesus is King’ sound like?

The album is set to be all about the gospel, both in theme and sound.

This year, West has hurled himself into an all-encompassing embrace of the Christian faith, most notably with his exclusive weekly gathering known as Sunday Service.

These invitation-only get-togethers feature choir-led singalongs and gospel-inspired remixes of classic songs, and if previews are to be believed, fans can expect similar from Jesus is King.

However, initial reviews from the listening sessions suggest the album is not totally gospel. Rolling Stone magazine’s Samuel J. Robinson reported that “there are elements of gospel, just as there are trap drums, ambient flourishes, prominent samples, and verses from the Clipse.”

Robinson also noted that though “this may become the rappers’ first clean album, it’s still, first and foremost, a Kanye West album.”

Will it feature any famous collaborations?

There has been a lot of uncertainty about which guest features will make the final cut, and even the artists themselves don’t seem sure.

Earlier this month, Young Thug tweeted to Kanye: “Is my verse about the devil still on Jesus ??”

According to the most recent version played at the listening sessions, Nicki Minaj's contributions have been axed, but Lauryn Hill, Pusha T and his brother No Malice will all feature.

Meanwhile, saxophonist Kenny G confirmed he recorded a track for the album. He told GQ magazine he had given Kanye his “best stuff”, but did not yet know whether he had made the grade.

According to fans who attended the ‘Jesus Is King: A Kanye West Experience’ listening session in Detroit last month, the record will include a sample of his work.

Has the tracklist been confirmed?

As ever with Kanye, nothing is certain.

The most recent hand-written version of the tracklist, shared by his wife last month, is the closest we’re going to get to an accurate insight at this point.

Almost all of the 10 tracks have suitably Biblical names, from ‘Up from the Ashes’ to ‘Sunday’ to the Hebrew word ‘Selah’, with ‘LA monster’ the only notable exception to the rule.

However, Kim also told Instagram faithfuls that Kanye was making “just a few final tweaks to the mixes” before the album drop, so we could see a whole different list by Friday.

Still, West has already played one of the songs listed, Water, debuting the gospel-heavy track during a Sunday Service session at Coachella.

Is it true Kanye will only play gospel music from now on?

It has been reported that Kanye will no longer make secular music. Addressing the audience at a Jesus is King listening session in Chicago, he allegedly announced he would only create Gospel from here on out.

Kanye believes he has “been radically saved” and wants “to get that message out to the world,'' according to his pastor, Adam Tyson.

The senior preacher also revealed he is helping Kanye with his new creative process, telling the Pure Flix Podcast: “It’s not like I’m writing the song. It’s all of his work. He’s the complete creator, creative kind of guy. He’s the musician.

“I’m just making comments the way I see it [on] how to articulate the gospel more clearly, and how to include the component of worship, which that was his idea.”

Is there also a Jesus is King documentary?

Yes. It will screen at IMAX cinemas for one week, from October 25.

According to a synopsis, the 38-minute long documentary “brings Kanye West’s famed Sunday Service to life”.

Directed by Nick Knight, the film follows Kanye and a team of musicians at the Roden Crater, a “never-before-seen” installation by the artist James Turrell in Arizona’s Painted Desert.

There, the choir performs 13 songs, “arranged by West in the gospel tradition”, including tracks from the album.

Tickets are available now on the Odeon website, which states: “The film starts right on the listed screening time. No adverts. No trailers. Just straight into the magic. Late arrivals may have to wait for an appropriate scene in order not to disturb other guests."