2000s Gospel: Kirk Franklin

Kirk Franklin Terrified to Pray for Gospel Singer Struggling With Kidney  Disease | Entertainment News
Who is Kirk Franklin?

Kirk James Franklin is one of contemporary gospel music’s most emergent singers, songwriters, and producers. Born on January 26, 1970, Franklin would find himself the child of a strict Baptist household. The product of a rather unconventional family– Franklin lived with his aunt in Fort Worth, Texas for the better part of his childhood. Franklin was always bright when it came to music, starting piano lessons at the age of four getting his first record deal offer at 7 years old. Franklin is very popular in the Gospel/ R&B world, now amassing 14 complete albums. It can even be argued that Kirk Franklin is a staple in the black gospel community. Franklin was the leader of many choirs over his lifetime. He released his first album Kirk Franklin & The Family with his choir The Family compromised of 17 of his friends and associates.
It is no secret that Kirk Franklin has produced massive hits. He has many awards under his name, including grammys, top 20s hits, and award-winning albums. Franklin mixes the traditional sound of a church choir with newer sounds like r&b and hip hop, and it has had an incredible impact on the trajectory of gospel music. To further understand his impact on the Gospel community, let us look at some of his hits from the 2000-2010 period.

Brighter Day

Listen to the infectious song Brighter Day, released by Kirk Franklin in 2002.
This song exhibits many of the qualities that songs from Kirk Franklin’s discography has become notorious for. It is a fun and engaging gospel song that fills the whole congregation with the Holy Spirit. It’s prominent use of the choir, repetition of uplifting messages, and Franklin’s hype ad libs, are only some of the features that contribute to the success of his records. It is easy to see how the energy present in Franklin’s records would encourage others to praise the Lord. It is also simple to see how gospel records such as Brighter Day would find their way to mainstream/secular audiences who prefer a more hip hop/ R&B sound.


Imagine Me
A little more on the ballad side, Imagine Me shows a whole different side to Franklin’s discography. It still embodies the essence of Kirk Franklin (see the presence of the choir, repetition of uplifting messages, and Franklin’s hype ad libs) but it also presents something completely different. Opposite to Brighter Day, this 2005 release shows the more vulnerable side of Franklin’s music. While other songs may sound more like a church “turn up”, songs like Imagine Me offer more of a personal conversation with God. His music truly offers something for everyone. There are options for the more worldly listeners; those who are more concerned with the beat and energy of the song than the spiritual message, and those who are looking to listen to music that mimics more of a personal connection with God.
While Kirk Franklin had a heavy presence in the Gospel scene from the late 90s to the early 2010s, that doesn’t mean he’s stopped creating music. Franklin has been a consistent force in the gospel music worlds, releasing hit after hit even in recent years. Kirk Franklin’s impact is no secret in the gospel community, and his music will forever be regarded to be some of the best made.

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