Chris Willman, Variety
Kanye West won his first gospel Grammy, and his first honor from the Recording Academy in eight years, for his “Jesus Is King” album. It is his 22nd career Grammy.
At least for a moment, it made him the most awarded hip-hop performer in Grammy history. He and Jay-Z went into the 2021 Grammys with 21 wins each. However, his record could be short-lived. Jay-Z stands a very good chance of almost immediately tying and then surpassing West, as he is up for four awards this year, for “Black Parade” and “Savage (Remix).”
West had been nominated as recently as two years ago, when he was up for a Grammy for best producer (non-classical). But he hadn’t picked up a win since 2013, when “No Church in the Wild” won best rap/sung collaboration and “N—– in Paris” scored for best rap song.
West did not join in the online acceptance speeches during the Grammy pre-telecast “premiere ceremony,” so presenter Jhene Aiko accepted on his behalf.
He has been celebrated at other awards ceremonies for his recent transition into gospel work. At the Billboard Music Awards, he, the album and its songs won for Top Gospel Artist, Top Christian Album, Top Gospel Album and Top Gospel Song. “Thank all my Christians who’ve been praying for me,” West said in a video acceptance speech for those awards in October. “Praying I would serve.”
He was a triple winner at the GMA (Gospel Music Association) Dove Awards, picking up traditional gospel album for “Jesus Is Born,” rap/hip-hop album for “Jesus Is King” and rap-hip-hop recorded song for “Follow God.”