How Kirk Franklin Made It OK To Turn Up To Gospel Music
20 years ago, Kirk Franklin helped usher in a new era.
April 12, 2017 at 4:09 pm
Kirk Franklin came in like a Christian version of Juvenile taking over for the '96 and '97 when he dropped the infamous, “Stomp.” Back in the day, not everyone was a fan of Kirk Franklin’s nontraditional approach, but Kirk was about that life. How do we know? Who else can come out with a “who gon check me boo” intro to a song, and still be allowed in the church? Kirk boldly stepped up to the camera, looked the black church in the face and said, ”For those of you that think that gospel music has gone too far, you think we got too radical with our message, well I got news for you. You ain’t heard nothin' yet. And if you don’t know, now you know. Glory, glory!”
That was just the beginning for the new sound coming out of Gospel. Since then, the box which contained the rules of gospel music has been lost in the Red Sea. Gospel artists are working to make music that relates and engages. Within the last two years, we have seen an influx of black millennials taking over the airwaves. Artists like Travis Greene and Bri Babineaux have mastered the art of worship. If you don’t believe me, I have receipts (and also tissue, because you will need it after watching THIS and THIS).
Now that your spirit has been stirred and soul has been lifted, let’s talk more about the way black millennials are taking gospel music and making it their own.
“I am sitting at the feet of Jesus, baby.”
That’s what my grandmother would say when she would listen to Richard Smallwood and Albertina Walker at 6 a.m. She would sit there and listen to the words, adding her own personal take on certain parts. As a child, I thought she was doing the absolute most. As an adult, I understand the importance of those moments at the feet of our King. My personal worship playlist doesn't contain Albertina or Richard, but it does contain songs that meet me where I am. More and more, artists like Mali Music and Tye Tribbett are taking their music to both the secular AND gospel masses.
In the case of Tye, there’s no need for an organ when there’s a dope beat like the one in his song, “Work It Out”. Before “Work It Out,” there was “I Luh God” by Erica Campbell. Both songs give us something gospel wasn’t giving the generations before us. Both songs are no longer condemned and blackballed thanks to artists like Kirk Franklin paving the way.
But don't get it twisted. We aren’t just interested in a dope beat. We want songs that break chains and show us beauty in our brokenness.
What songs are on your playlist as we usher in Resurrection Sunday? If you need a little help catching up on some of the gospel music breaking the rules and meeting us where we are, here are a few artists to start with: