If you haven’t noticed by now, there is a new wave of change happening in the world of Gospel Music. The dividing line that keeps the ‘secular folks’ on one side and the gospel folks on another has started to fade. Music lovers and artists alike, who don’t mind the intermingling, are dabbing in chorus with this new thing. Others, ehhh, not so much. Arguments on both sides go something like this:
pro: we (gospel artists) are being a light in a dark place. We’ll expand our reach for Jesus!
no: Lucifer was like the MD in heaven and got kicked out. His influence is all over mainstream music. Don’t have any parts of that!
Whatever side you find yourself on, just know this: the tides are a-turnin’. Now while I, myself can understand the sincere purpose of why a Christian artist would collaborate with a mainstream artist, I have to admit, a few of these collabs had me raising my penciled-in eyebrows. Not because I think it’s wrong but because I was surprised more than anything. I mean, who would have thought Tasha Cobbs and Nicki Minaj would do a song together?! The church was in a frenzy when Salt of Salt-N-Pepa dropped a few bars on Kirk Franklin’s infectious song Stomp back in ’97. Chile please. That collab ain’t got nothing on these. Check this out.
1. Fred Hammond & Snoop Dogg
Mr. Bow-wow-wow-yippie-yo-yippe-ya himself teamed up with Fred Hammond to create a song for his new gospel album. Now, just the news alone of Snoop going gospel (at least for 1 album) had folks collectively saying ‘wait, whhhhhaaaat?’ But the fact that a revered worship leader such as Fred Hammond is on a track with Snoop, is making folks all sorts of confused. Why? Well because fans who have followed Fred since the 90’s, know that this is not something he does. Fred Hammond is an accomplished musician, singer-songwriter, and worshipper who just doesn’t dabble around like that. Needless to say, his fans were quite shocked. But at the end of the day, we trust that this veteran in gospel music knows exactly what he is doing.
2. Marvin Sapp & R. Kelly – Listen
Bishop Marvin Sapp’s song Listen off of his album Close had a very familiar voice at the beginning of the song – R. Kelly. We immediately recognized it. Heck, we could pinpoint R. Kelly’s voice in the middle of Levi’s Stadium screaming after Beyonce’s 2016 Superbowl performance. It’s no surprise that people have varied feelings about R. Kelly so when we found out the Bishop allowed Kellz to write a song for him, well, there were plenty of wide eyes and dropped jaws. In an interview on the Willie Moore Jr. Show, Bishop Marvin Sapp admitted that at one point, he thought about removing the song off the record but ultimately, he ended up leaving it on there. He says “The message is always bigger than the messenger. What we need to do as the body of Christ [is]…listen to the message of the song. That’s the reason I left it on the record.”
3. Kirk Franklin & Kanye West – Ultralight Beam
The world knew something was up when a pic was posted to Instagram showing Kirk in the studio with Kanye, Diddy, and a bunch of other people. Not long after that, we saw Kanye’s performance on SNL where Kirk Franklin & Chance The Rapper joined him for the song ….and the saints went off. Many were extremely critical of Kirk Franklin’s move on this one. I mean, seriously, Kirk is no stranger to this crossover thing. I’d argue that he is a trailblazer in pushing gospel music to the mainstream masses. But THIS collab had heads spinning. Of course Kirk has his reasons. You can read on IG for yourself.
4. Mary Mary & David Banner – Superfriend
Lets face it, The Sound is one of Mary Mary’s best albums. Every track is dope. But many were surprised to hear David Banner shelling out a few bars on the track. Some folks criticized Mary Mary saying that there are so many gospel rap artists who are equally talented who would have loved to feature on Superfriend. However, the sister duo said David’s verse was already on the track when they got it and they didn’t have a problem leaving it on there.
5. Tasha Cobbs & Nicki Minaj – I’m Getting Ready
This one right here takes the cake. Fans of Tasha Cobbs never once expected a collaboration with Nicki Minaj. But if you hear anything Tasha Cobbs-Lenoard has to say about it, you’ll learn that Nicki Minaj is actually a fan of Tasha Cobbs and worships to her music. Critics pointed the finger at the Break Every Chain singer saying her light and Nicki just don’t mix. But Tasha clapped back. She 100% defended Nicki Minaj’s relationship with the Lord and says she would absolutely collaborate with her again.
Did any of these collabs surprise you? What do you think about them? Send me an e-mail at [email protected] and let me know!
Monique Shurray is an Entertainment Journalist & Media Personality. Grab her free Podcast Interviewer's Checklist here to keep you ready for all of your podcast interviews.