West releases gospel track

NEW YORK • Rap star Kanye West is showing his religious side by releasing a prayer in the form of a gospel track to celebrate Easter.

Titled Ultralight Prayer, the song consists of inspirational spoken word by leading gospel artist Kirk Franklin set to snippets of a church choir, with only passing resemblance to mainstream hip-hop.

"Father, this prayer is for everyone that feels they're not good enough," Franklin says, building up to a rousing, "That's why we need a little more - faith."

Franklin's prayer first appeared in condensed form on West's song Ultralight Beam, which opens his latest album The Life Of Pablo.

Ultralight Beam, which features prominent Chicago artist Chance the Rapper, blends mellow hip-hop and gospel as West reflects on his faith, with the title an apparent metaphor for a connection to heaven.

West has often spoken of his Christianity, with his first album The College Dropout featuring the hit Jesus Walks.

He gave out his latest track for free on SoundCloud, a frequent outlet for the prolific rapper who recently vowed to record three albums a year. But he put out The Life Of Pablo exclusively on streaming service Tidal and, in a sharp break with the conventional concept of an album release, has continually fine-tuned it since it went live.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 30, 2016, with the headline 'West releases gospel track'. Print Edition | Subscribe