By Lovanda Brown <> WPRV.NET
Photo Courtesy of Atoast2wealth.com. AT2W: Unveiling Truth deemed this single, “The worst Gospel song of 2015"
Gospel music has certainly evolved since the years of Thomas Dorsey’s pioneering strides to establish this genre. Today the sub-genres of Gospel are appreciated by some and heavily debated by all who carries differing perceptions of what Gospel music should sound like. Throughout time, we’ve watched slavery hymns integrate with stringed and brass instruments to form Gospel Blues. We’ve seen Rosetta Thorpe’s image and approach to Gospel solidify a place for Gospel Rock & Roll in the church, and today we continue to watch the collaboration of trailblazing strides designed to intrigue today’s generation with the emergence of Hip Hop Gospel. Just the same, when anything or anyone attempts to challenge perceptions and traditions which have endured through time, persecution inevitably ensues. The traditions of the church and the image of its members have been through its fair changes just the same. Today, Hip Hop and its many sub-genres have influenced the progression of music released by modern-day Gospel artists. Now, the familiar beats of Hip-Hop’s trap music are making their way into the sound waves of the once familiar melodies of Gospel. The persecution following well established artists like Mary Mary and Kirk Franklin is real.
However, before one can readily argue a particular stance on the matter, one should consider the intent of Gospel music. If the intention of Gospel music is to worship the Almighty God and pay reverence to the incomparable sacrificing of Jesus Christ, who can determine what the should sound like if not God Himself? In 2015, Mary Mary’s Erica Campbell released a song along with a video titled, I LUH GOD. Since then, Campbell has been the subject of scrutiny for the skin-hugging attire she wore throughout the video and the clear “trap beats” used as a platform to create the single. The video has generated nearly 6 million views on Youtube and beneath that number are the 7,000 comments to date which heavily dispute views of both love and distaste for the single. One youtube viewer under the name Mo Mo wrote, “I don’t believe in Hip-Hop gospel, its so disrespectful. I’m aware she’s trying to cater for the youngsters but if you wanna bring them in BRING THEM IN PROPERLY! This is an abomination!” However, another user named Joy Wanakwanyi penned, “Honestly, God is gonna bless this woman. Truth be told most young people don't listen to Christian music because it's a bit boring. Y'all need to chill. She is trying to bless the new generation with Christian music. Unless u want the young generation to continue listening to worldly music and end up killing each other, craving for money (poverty). Coz that's what worldly music does. We need to save young people.”
These arguments, again, all boil down to the perception of Gospel music’s intent. Some feel that traditions shouldn’t be challenged because with change comes corruption. The intention then becomes to avoid compromising the “sanctity” that is traditional church music and in doing so, the members of this generation will understand exactly what God is expecting of His people. On the other side, fans of this music argue that the intention of Gospel is not merely to preach to the choir of those who already know who God is, but intrigue those to seek and honor Him in ways that feels more natural to the members of this generation. What do you all think? Is this representation of Gospel music really an “abomination” or is this actually another progressive movement being challenged due to the deeply embedded perceptions of what gospel music should sound like? Give us your thoughts! Let us come together as members of the body of Christ and lovers of God to hammer this issue out. Remember, united we stand, divided we fall. Whether we deeply “LUH” God, or have been traditionally conditioned to “LOVE” God, the same difference to some is quite debatable to many others. Your thoughts?