Kanye West Returns to Chicago for Soul-Stirring Sunday Service Ahead of NBA All-Star Game

Kevin Mazur/Getty Images
Kanye West

Ardent West supporters came in droves to see the event, which previously hosted stars such as Brad Pitt and Chance the Rapper.

After recently making pit stops in Miami and Los Angeles for this year's Super Bowl and Grammy Awards, respectively, Kanye West made his triumphant return to his hometown of Chicago on Sunday afternoon ahead of the 2020 NBA All-Star Game.

Ardent West supporters came in droves to see the polarizing MC's soul-stirring event, which previously hosted stars such as Brad Pitt and Chance the Rapper.

Though West and company kicked off the show nearly an hour after its scheduled 2 p.m. slot at the Credit Union 1 Arena, the gospel collective blazed through some of his classic records. Positioned in the middle of the venue, the choir was in a circular formation, underneath a dark blue beaming light. West's army led the charge, showering the crowd with positive affirmations such as "If you can't run, just walk."

Dousing the people with words of encouragement, along with remixes to West's songs "Power," "Father Stretch My Hands" and "Fade," satiated the crowd's hunger for soul food on this frigid Sunday afternoon. Fans even howled in excitement when A$AP Ferg's "New Level" was taken for a spin and flipped into a God-praising anthem.

Later, West's choir turned the dial and jumped decades back to perform Soul II Soul's 1989 hit "Back to Life" and Maze & Frankie Beverly's 1977 song "Before I Let Go" to the delight of the crowd. Their lush and sonorous melodies had feet tapping and hands clapping, with everyone celebrating the festive return of Chicago's biggest star.

Relishing the crowd's positive vibrations, West vaulted himself at the top of the fray, bopping to his choir's soothing harmonies before ultimately deciding to take the reins. Sporting his dark sunglasses, West grabbed the microphone and rapped to his Jesus Is King track "Selah." Blanketed by his choir's cries of "Hallelujah," West greeted their energy with open arms after he rapped the song's verse.

He continued his rampage by jumping into "Can't Tell Me Nothing," "Follow God" and "Closed on Sunday." The mini-set was electric, with the choir peppering West's songs with soaring ad-libs, adding a hint of gospel influence to his records.

To close things off, Yeezy gave a resounding performance of "Jesus Walks," a song that propelled him into a megastar in 2004. After allowing his choir to intro the record, he began rapping the song's first verse as the crowd clung to every word he dished out. As West concluded his rap, he broke into a thoughtful spiel about finding healing through God and how important it was for him to return to Chicago. "With God on your side, everything is possible. With God on your side, everything is probable and nothing is impossible. That's the gospel," he said.

Gathering his thoughts, West then barked at his haters who questioned his love for God and his newfound direction in music. "I'm not here to perform for y'all. I don't do performances. I'm only here to tell you what saved my life and brought my mind back," he revealed. "I'm not saying that when you get delivered and when you get saved that life becomes easy, but you get to lean on a rock that won't ever fail you."

This story first appeared on Billboard.com.