Kanye West was running around NYC last week as he launched his ninth studio album, JESUS IS KING—among other things, there was a promotional bus driving around Manhattan and a surprise appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live. While here, he also performed at the Oculus Plaza located at the World Trade Center very early Friday morning with his Sunday Service crew. Their performance of "Closed On Sundays" was put online today (they also performed "Faith," a God-oriented rewrite of "Fade," but that has not been released yet)—check it out below.
West also hopped on a flight with James Corden to record an "Airpool Karaoke" video, which you can see below. The good part of this video: the performance of "Jesus Walks" (the only song West really participates in), everything else the choir sings, the fact Corden doesn't really get to sing. The bad: the awful stabs at comedy, West talking about how he thinks he received a $68 million tax refund because he became a born-again Christian. “As humbly as I can put it, God is using me to show off,” Kanye said. “Last year I made $115 million and still ended up $35 million in debt. This year I looked up and I just got $68 million returned to me on my tax returns.”
West's album has been getting fascinatingly mixed reviews all over the place: Pitchfork gave it a pretty positive score (7.2) while calling it "a richly produced but largely flawed record about one man’s love of the Lord (and himself)." Consequence of Sound gave it an F, dismissing it as "27 minutes of cliches, half-finished thoughts, and vaguely religious gesturing." Uproxx wrote in a largely negative review, "while I believe that Jesus Is King stinks in 2019, I suspect that in 20 years it might sound kind of … good?" Fader tried to contextualize it in West's career, and Vulture wrote a very fair, conflicted take: "The music of Jesus Is King is pretty, and the message is mostly positive. But unless this organization distinguishes itself from the divisive ideologies of political figures angling to jack into the considerable cultural cachet of Kanye West and his star-studded expanse of collaborators, it runs the risk of playing Hillsong to hip-hop."