Multi-genre superstar Kanye West is Billboard’s Top Gospel Artist of 2023, marking three straight years that he claims the top honor. He’s the first act to be the year-end Top Gospel Artist in three years since 2017, when Tamela Mann claimed her third triumph.

On the Billboard charts dated Sept. 11, 2021, Donda started with a bang. It debuted in the penthouse on the all-genre weekly Billboard 200 plus Top Gospel Albums and Top Christian Albums with 309,000 equivalent album units earned in the U.S., according to Luminate.

Explore All of Billboard’s 2023 Year-End Charts

It marked West’s 10th Billboard 200 leader and his second No. 1 on Top Gospel Albums (as well as Top Christian Albums).

Donda followed his first spiritual LP, Jesus Is King, which crowned both lists as well, plus the Billboard 200. King started with 264,000 weekly units in November 2019, which was a record at the time on the two faith-based lists.

On the Top Gospel Albums year-end tallies, Donda is No. 1 and Jesus Is King is No. 5.

Also, Donda has ranked at either No. 1 or No. 2 on the weekly Top Gospel Albums chart so far this year. Jesus Is King has also remained strong, holding in the Top Gospel Albums top 10 throughout 2023.

Since Top Gospel Albums launched in 1983, Donda is the longest running No. 1 (over 100 weeks), and Jesus Is King is second (over 65 frames).

Billboard’s top duo/group of 2023 and No. 2 among all acts is the Atlanta-based worship collective Maverick City Music. The popular act repeats from 2022 in the rankings.

Old Church Basement, the collaborative project with Christian act Elevation Worship, ranks as the Top Gospel Albums No. 2 LP of 2023. The set, which opened at No. 1 on Top Gospel Albums in May 2021 with 19,000 units and spent 17 frames at the summit, has been in the top five for all of 2023.

The Nos. 4, 6 and 10 albums of 2023 are also from Maverick City Music. At No. 4 is Kingdom: Book One, a collaboration with gospel star Kirk Franklin. The LP opened at its No. 2 peak in July 2022 with 8,000 units. Maverick City, Vol. 3: Part One is the No. 6 set of 2023; and No. 8 is Move Your Heart with Upperroom.

Maverick City Music finished 2023 with the release of The Maverick Way Complete: Complete Vol. 2 with Chandler Moore and Naomi Raine. It arrived atop the weekly Top Gospel Albums list dated Nov. 11 (which places it within the 2024 chart year) with 11,000 equivalent album units. Concurrently, it also crowned the weekly Top Christian Albums chart.

Also, the year-end No. 1 on Hot Gospel Songs is “Jireh,” a collaboration from Elevation Worship and Maverick City Music featuring Chandler Moore and Naomi Raine. The song debuted at No. 1 in April 2021 and has spent the sum of 2023 in the top three.

Gospel icon CeCe Winans is the leading woman of 2023, ruling the year-end Top Gospel Artists – Female tally, and No. 3 on the overall Top Gospel Artists recap. Her hit “Goodness of God” led Gospel Airplay for four weeks starting on the Feb. 18-dated tally, giving Winans her fourth leader. It’s No. 5 on the year-end Gospel Airplay Songs roundup. Plus, it’s the leading track of the year on Gospel Digital Song Sales.

The No. 1 Gospel Airplay Song of 2023 is Erica Campbell’s “Feel Alright (Blessed),” which dominated the weekly version of the chart for two frames beginning July 29, 2023. Campbell, who has tallied three Gospel Airplay chart-toppers so far, comes in as the that chart’s leading artist of the year. In the top female category, Campbell finishes fourth. Billboard’s Top New Gospel artist of the year is the Hampton Roads, Va.-based choir Voices of Fire, which is led by Bishop Ezekiel Williams, who is Pharrell Williams’ uncle. Voices of Fire’s “Joy (Unspeakable)” featuring Pharrell Williams peaked at No. 7 on Hot Gospel Songs in July.

Billboard’s year-end music recaps represent aggregated metrics for each artist, title, label and music contributor on the weekly charts from Nov. 19, 2022, through Oct. 21, 2023. Rankings for Luminate-based recaps reflect equivalent album units, airplay, sales or streaming during the weeks that the titles appeared on a respective chart during the tracking year. Any activity registered before or after a title’s chart run isn’t considered in these rankings. That methodology detail, and the November-October time period, account for some of the difference between these lists and the calendar-year recaps that are independently compiled by Luminate.

Keith Caulfield
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