Yeah, you read that correctly. This past Sunday I was one of the tens of thousands of people in Lakewood Church for the 7PM service. I hadn’t planned on going, didn’t wake up early snag free tickets on Saturday morning, and if we’re being honest I’d only listened to the album once. I even told a friend recently that I haven’t really seen it for Kanye for a few years now, and that I hadn’t listened to a full project since ‘My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy’. There were a few songs on more recent projects that I liked like “Ultralight Beam” and “Blood on the Leaves”, but I couldn’t get behind Kanye’s message. So that wasn’t the reason behind me going to Sunday Service.
I wanted to see his choir.
I follow a Sunday Service account on Instagram and I’d been watching clips of previous services and that choir is phenomenal. The vocals, harmony, control, and the fact that every single person is mic’d up and it still sounds great means that their audio engineers deserve an award.
Kanye and his crew aren’t doing anything new. If you grew up in a Black church then you’re probably used to hearing songs like the ones they sang, the only spirituals as well as some remixed R&B/Hip-Hop songs. We’ve been doing that for years! And I wasn’t expecting a full sermon, especially at Lakewood and from Joel Osteen because he’s more of a motivational speaker than he is a pastor in my opinion. A friend invited me and I went for a praise and worship session.
And that’s exactly what I got.
It started off high-energy with songs of Kanye’s that we’d recognized, and a few remixed songs to get us hype. They even remixed Houston’s own Destiny’s Child and we hit the Southside with them. It was cute. But there was a definite shift in the atmosphere when it came time for the worship part of the service. The choir had given me chills a few times that night with their harmonies, but when they started singing “Hallelujah, Salvation And Glory” you could feel the Holy Spirit in the room.
Now I can’t say that this is a stunt or something for Kanye, but I know one of the singers in the choir and I know one of his horn players and they’re not faking the front. They’re praising God. I’m still not here for Kanye and some of the things he’s said, but I can’t deny the fact that he’s great with music and pulling together talented people. Would I pay to see the show? Probably not, at least not now. But I’d probably go see it again if they decided to pop up at another church.
What are your thoughts on this controversial matter? We actually talked about it this week on ‘The Urbanist Unfiltered’ so I’m going to pop in that podcast episode below and you can check it out and let me know what you think!