Since January, Kanye West has been exploring the spiritual side of popular songs at invite-only concerts on the West Coast he’s dubbed “Sunday Service.”
The concept is elaborately simple: take a song that everyone knows, fly in an entire choir (known as The Samples) to a new location each week, and have the choir perform the song with new lyrics and a decidedly gospel feel. Bands such as Nirvana and No Doubt as well as artists Sia, Tracy Chapman, and Chance the Rapper among many others have all had their songs gospelized by West and his amazing choir. “Don’t Speak” becomes “Lord Speaks,” “Fast Car” becomes “Great God,” etc. West has gospelized a few of his own songs, and the entire project is rumored to be a preview of West’s upcoming album Yandhi (release date still unknown).
With sparse instrumentation, the covers shine a light on the incredible vocals of The Samples. “Come as You Are” begins with simple keyboards and the finale brings in a small brass section. “Don’t Speak” features soft organ. “Fast Car”remains subdued throughout with keyboards reminiscent of the original. In all of the covers, the lyrics take center stage, completely re-written in a worshipful tone. They unfortunately can only be experienced through shaky video snippets, often posted to the social media feeds of a Kardashian or another celebrity attendee, but the glimpses they provide are tantalizing.
Take a listen to a few of the Sunday Service covers below.