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Kanye West beats Kirk Franklin, others to clinch billboard’s top gospel artiste for 2020

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American rapper and latter-day born-again singer, Kanye West, has emerged Billboard‘s Top Gospel Artiste of the year 2020. He defeated Kirk Franklin who took second, Tasha Cobbs Leonard, Sunday Service Choir, Travis Greene, Marvin Sapp, Kierra Sheard and others to clinch the award.

According to Billboard, West’s 2019 album, Jesus Is King, his first spiritual-themed set, opened atop Top Gospel Albums, Top Christian Albums and the all-genre Billboard 200.

“In its opening week on the November 9, 2019, dated lists, the set earned 264,000 equivalent album units, the biggest week ever for a faith-based album. Since its arrival, Jesus Is King has spent more than a year at No. 1 and is the No. 1 album on the Top Gospel Albums year-end tally.

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“The No. 2 Christian Album of 2020 also comes from West’s world. Jesus Is Born, credited to the Sunday Service Choir (with production by West), finishes in the runner-up position; the album was released on December 25, 2019.

“After just a day-and-a-half of tracking, Jesus Is Born entered Billboard’s Top Gospel Albums chart (dated January 4, 2020) at No. 2 starting with 6,000 equivalent album units earned (3,000 in album sales) in the week ending December 26, according to Nielsen Music/MRC Data. Jesus Is Born peaked at No. 2 on Top Gospel Albums, not making it to the summit only because West’s own Jesus Is King LP was dominating at No. 1. Sunday Service Choir is also the leading gospel group of 2020,” Billboard wrote. West’s Follow God song bagged the number one song of the year on Hot Gospel Songs.

“Meanwhile, the lead track on Jesus Is King, Follow God, is the No. 1 song of the year on Hot Gospel Songs, which is powered by streaming, airplay and sales. Follow God has spent more than 40 weeks at No. 1. Concurrently, it is the No. 1 song on the year-end Gospel Streaming Songs list and No. 2 on Gospel Digital Song Sales.

“West’s Wash Us in the Blood, featuring Travis Scott, is the No. 4 Hot Gospel Songs title of 2020. Wash Us started at No. 1 on both Hot Gospel Songs and Hot Christian Songs on the surveys dated July 11. It reigned for eight weeks on the former and two frames on the latter. It’s also the No. 1 song of 2020 on Gospel Digital Song Sales,” it added.

On the other hand, Tasha Cobbs Leonard was named the top female artiste of year 2020. Cobbs who is No. 3 on the overall ranking, came in behind West and Kirk Franklin.

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She places two sets in the Top Gospel Albums’ year-end list. Her 2017 album Heart, Passion, Pursuit, which bowed in the penthouse and spent 29 frames there, is the No. 3 album of the year. The set has yet to leave the weekly top 10 of the Top Gospel Albums chart since its debut on the list on Sept. 16, 2017. Her first Top Gospel Albums appearance, a 2013 EP titled Grace, is her second top 10 of 2020, coming in at No. 9 for the year.

In 2020, Cobbs Leonard scored her fifth No. 1 on Top Gospel Albums. Her Royalty: Live at the Ryman blasted in atop the chart dated October 10 with 3,000 units. The 17-tracker was initially intended to be recorded live in front of a crowd at Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium but due to the coronavirus pandemic, Cobbs Leonard opted to record it at the historic setting without an audience.

In July this year, Cobbs Leonard added to her Top Gospel Albums top 10 tallies when her EP Intercession arrived at No. 3. To date, she has notched five No. 1s among six top 10s.

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Kanye WestKirk Franklin
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