TASHA COBBS LEONARD

Jesénia M. Jackson

Gospel Music Heritage Month Foundation writes, gospel music, “…is a living experience, always changing, always giving, and always becoming the foundation that gave moral, physical, and spiritual support to a great and powerful people.” It also notes, “The greater melodies and most stimulating songs have been given to this nations and the world through the African American experience.” Beforegospel music was birthed, spirituals were mostly sung, however Thomas A. Dorsey, the father of gospel music, changed this. He incorporated elements of jazz and R&B (rhythm and blues) with spirituals and created a new genre, gospel music. Because he incorporated secular genres with spirituals, his music was not well received when he first began his career. However, with time and the assistance of Mahalia Jackson’s beautiful voice, spiritual music’s audience grew fond and supported the rise of the gospel music genre. Notable songs from Thomas A Dorsey include, Precious Lord and Peace In The Valley.

            As the 1960s approached, African Americans fought for equality within societal and governmental institutions. As gospel artists noticed the movements taking place, they wrote songs to express and demand change, equality, and fairness. Gospel Music Heritage Music Foundation notes that “James Cleveland expresses this in song Lord, Do It.” Other artists that wrote songs to express equality include Andrea Crouch’s Touch Me and Walter Hawkins’s, God Is Standing By.
            While gospel music reverences and worships Christ, it also recognizes and speaks of the temptations or sins that humans face and act upon. This diversity within one genre does two things 1) allows one to be open and honest in their life’s story, and 2) allows the genre of music to become a crossover genre allowing secular artists to be featured on and create gospel albums. Several secular artists have participated in gospel music such as Snoop Dog, Chance The Rapper, Jennifer Hudson, Fantasia and Nicki Minaj. Recently, Nicki Minaj has been a controversial topic in gospel since her feature on Tasha Cobbs Leonard’s newest album, Heart. Passion. Pursuit.
 
 

I'm Getting Ready

In addition to being a singer and songwriter, Leonard also spearheaded a company named iLead Escape, “A global ministry mentorships program that aids 2,000 mentees in sharpening and knowledge and execution of their gifts.” In addition to iLead, Leonard also wrote a book entitles WORSHIP, which speaks on the fundamentals of worship. Leonard notes that her goal is to “use her platform as an opportunity to fulfill the purpose of her assignment.”

As a gospel crossover artist, Leonard has been able to feature secular artists in her music. One of these artists is Nicki Minaj. On Leonard’s latest album, Heart. Passion. Pursuit., the gospel music industry was shocked and stunned that Leonard would allow Minaj to be a feature on the song,  I’m Getting Ready. The lyrics: 

 

Eyes haven’t seen
And ears haven’t heard
The kind of blessings
The kind of blessings
That’s about to follow me, whoa
‘Cause victory is here
Keep defeat out the door
God’s done a new thing, yeah
Get ready for overflow

‘Cause I’m getting ready
(I’m getting ready to see)
Something I’ve never seen
(Something I’ve never seen)
Prophesy over your life saying
(I’m getting ready to see)
Oh-oh-oh, oh-oh
Something I’ve never seen
Saying I’m getting ready
(I’m getting ready to see)
Something I’ve never seen
(Something I’ve never seen)
Said again I’m getting ready
(I’m getting ready to see)
Something I’ve never seen
(Something I’ve never seen)

Let’s say it together, say
Eyes haven’t seen, no-o, o-o
(Eyes haven’t seen)
Come on say it, and ears haven’t heard
(Ears haven’t heard)
What?
The kind of blessing, yeah
The kind of blessing
That’s about to follow me
Sing victory is here, yeah
(Victory is here)
It keep defeat out the door
(Defeat out the door)

God’s doing a new thing
Get ready
(Get ready for overflow)

Now throw your hands up
Saying I’m getting ready
(I’m getting ready to see)
Something I’ve never seen
I’m getting ready
(I’m getting ready to see)
God’s about to blow my mind, hey
Something I’ve never seen
Say, I’m getting ready
(I’m getting ready to see)
Oh, yes, I am
Something I’ve never seen (something I’ve never seen)
It’s bigger than I can imagine
(I’m getting ready to see)
Oh, something I’ve never seen
(Something I’ve never seen)

Yo, aye yo, beach house vibes, maneuver the jetski
‘Cause-’cause I serve the God that parted the Red Sea
Multi-million dollars commercials for Pepsi
From food-stamps to more ice than Gretzky
I don’t gotta talk, the Lord defends me
I watch them all fall for going against me
‘Cause me and all my angels shot the devil up
While you was trying to pull me down, I leveled up
I leveled up twice, I leveled up three times
He tapped ’em and told ’em “she’s mine”
So even when I cried I knew I’d be fine

Prepare for a miracle blessing in these times
Now praise Him, raise Him, name it, claim it
Every tongue that rises up against me, shame it
I breathe success in and out my lungs
I got the power of life and death coming out of my tongue

Oh-oh-ooh, oh-oh-oh, ooh-ooooh
You gotta move a little bit with that
Say oh-oh-oh
Oh-oh-ooh, oh-oh-oh, ooh-ooooh
Said again, say I’m
Oh-oh-ooh, oh-oh-oh, ooh-ooooh
It’s about to be real big, say oh
Oh-oh-ooh, oh-oh-oh, ooh-ooooh
Now somebody raise it

Say I’m getting ready (I’m getting ready)
Ready for overflow (ready for overflow)
It’s real easy, somebody declare it
Say I’m getting ready (I’m getting ready)
What are you ready for? (ready for overflow)
Say it again, say I’m getting ready (I’m getting ready)
Ready for overflow (ready for overflow)
It’s about to be running over in my lfe, yeah (I’m getting ready)
Ready for overflow (ready for overflow)
Say oh I’m ready (oh I’m ready)
Are you ready for overflow? (ready for overflow)
Say, yes, I’m ready (yes I’m ready)
Ready for overflow (ready for overflow)
Say ready for overflow, ooh-oh-ooh (ready for overflow)
You are the declaring over your sins
Say ready for overflow (ready for overflow)
Declare it over your finances
Say ready for overflow (ready for overflow)
Healing in my body, I’m ready (ready for overflow)
I’m in the right position, I’m ready (ready 

for overflow)
I’m gonna stay here at Your feet because I’m ready (ready for overflow)
I’m ready (ready for overflow)
Oh-ohh, yes I’m ready (ready for overflow)
I’ll say it again, I’m still ready (ready for overflow)
Oh, yes, I’m ready (ready for overflow)
God, you keep blowin’ my mind, I’m ready (ready for overflow)
Lord, you keep blowin’ my mind, I’m ready (ready for overflow)

Sing, I’m getting ready (I’m getting ready)
Ready for overflow (ready for overflow)
Say, I’m getting ready (I’m getting ready)
Ready for overflow (ready for overflow)
Say, ye, s I’m ready (yes, I’m ready)

God you keep blowin’ my mind
‘Cause eyes haven’t seen
Ears haven’t heard
The kind of blessings
The kind of blessings
That’s about to follow me
‘Cause victory is here
It put defeat out the door
God’s doing a new thing
A brand new thing
I’m ready for overflow

“Thank you, God”

God’s doing a new thing
Get ready for overflow
Yeah, I’m talking to you, I’m talking to you
God’s doing a new thing
Get ready for overflow
You been waiting
You been praying
You been pressing
You been fasting
God’s doing a new thing
Get ready for overflow
I’m getting ready to see
Something I’ve never seen
Oh, I’m getting ready to see, oh-oh-ooh
Something I’ve never seen

Gospel Music Audience Response

The reason for the backlash that Leonard received on this song was based on the reputation of Nicki Minaj. Minaj, an African American female hip-hop rapper, is known for her explicit lyrics. A large group of the gospel music audience responded on social media negatively saying, “TBH, Um not gelling Nicki Minaj getting on a song with Tasha Cobbs on a gospel album. You can’t mix world with something spiritual” and “Can someone PLEASE get me off this floor. Why would Tasha Cobbs ever have a song with Nicki Minaj? Somebody please send help.” While Cobbs knew that she would receive negative responses for her collaboration with Nicki Minaj, she still  recorded the song and responded to the negativity with the following post on her Instagram, “Welcome, with open arms fellow believers who font see things the way you do. And don’t jump all over them every time they do or say something you don’t’ agree with—even when it seems that they are strong on opinions but weak in the faith department. Remember, they have their own story to deal with them. Treat them gently. Romans 14:1.” 

While this song caused much uproar in the gospel community, Tasha Cobbs Leonard still remains an influential artist and pivotal force in the industry as she has crossed over in the R&B, Hip-Hop, and Christian music industries.

Discography

2012: GRACE (EMI label)

2015: One Place Live (Motown)

2017: Heart. Passion. Pursuit. (Motown/Universal)

Singles: Jesus Saves, Great God, This Is The Freedom, The Name Of Our God, Gracefully Broken, Your Spirit.

 

 
Tasha Cobbs
Jesénia M. Jackson, Survey of African American Music, Dr. Johnson, 2 May 2018
Gospel Music
Gospel Music Heritage Month Foundation writes, gospel music, “…is a living experience, always changing, always giving, and always becoming the foundation that gave moral, physical, and spiritual support to a great and powerful people.” It also notes, “The greater melodies and most stimulating songs have been given to this nations and the world through the African American experience.” Before gospel music was birthed, spirituals were mostly sung, however Thomas A. Dorsey, the father of gospel music, changed this. He incorporated elements of jazz and R&B (rhythm and blues) with spirituals and created a new genre, gospel music. Because he incorporated secular genres with spirituals, his music was not well received when he first began his career. However, with time and the assistance of Mahalia Jackson’s beautiful voice, spiritual music’s audience grew fond and supported the rise of the gospel music genre. Notable songs from Thomas A Dorsey include, Precious Lord and Peace In The Valley.
Tasha Cobbs Leonard
Tasha Cobbs Leonard is American gospel singer and songwriter that has been a pivotal artist in the gospel music genre. Mostly known as an American Urban Contemporary Gospel Artist, Leonard was born on July 7, 1981 un Jessup, Georgia. During her childhood she served on and as the worship leader at New Life Ministries in the worship department where her mother and father were the pastors. After relocating to Atlanta, Leonard joined Bishop William Murphy III church in Atlanta, Georgia, dReam Center Church of Atlanta where she was also head of the Worship & Arts department. In 2010, she recorded her first album entitled, Smile. Three years later, she launched her own music label entitled Cobbs Ministries. After this venture, she released her album GRACE from EMI, Electrical and Musical Industries, label and then moved to Motown Gospel label where she released One Place, Live. During Leonard’s career, some of her songs have reached number one on the billboard charts. These songs include, Break Every Chain, a crossover song which set #1 on the Billboard chart for 12 – weeks. Additionally, she recorded hit song, Put A Praise On It. Since 2010, she has won one Grammy, three Stellar Awards, and three Dove Awards.
Leonard As A Crossover Artist
As a gospel crossover artist, Leonard has been able to feature secular artists in her music. One of these artists is Nicki Minaj. On Leonard’s latest album, Heart. Passion. Pursuit., the gospel music industry was shocked and stunned that Leonard would allow Minaj to be a feature on the song, I’m Getting Ready.
Conclusion
While this song caused much uproar in the gospel community, Tasha Cobbs Leonard still remains an influential artist and pivotal force in the industry as she has crossed over in the R&B, Hip-Hop, and Christian music industries.
Sources
http://www1.cbn.com/cbnnews/entertainment/2017/july/gospel-singer-tasha-cobbs-faces-backlash-for-teaming-with-racy-nicki-minaj-on-new-song http://gospelmusicheritage.org/site/history/ https://www.allmusic.com/artist/tasha-cobbs-leonard-mn0003642077/biography http://tashacobbs.org/about/ http://yourblackworld.net/2017/04/05/8-wonderful-facts-to-know-about-gospel-musician-pastor-tasha-cobbs/ https://www.heraldstandard.com/entertainment/music/clints_music_review/music-review-tasha-cobbs-leonard---heart-passion-pursuit/article_2949a364-f009-5490-a952-c512017ae311.html
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Sources

http://www1.cbn.com/cbnnews/entertainment/2017/july/gospel-singer-tasha-cobbs-faces-backlash-for-teaming-with-racy-nicki-minaj-on-new-song 

http://gospelmusicheritage.org/site/history/

https://www.allmusic.com/artist/tasha-cobbs-leonard-mn0003642077/biography

 

About Tasha Cobbs

http://yourblackworld.net/2017/04/05/8-wonderful-facts-to-know-about-gospel-musician-pastor-tasha-cobbs/

https://www.heraldstandard.com/entertainment/music/clints_music_review/music-review-tasha-cobbs-leonard—heart-passion-pursuit/article_2949a364-f009-5490-a952-c512017ae311.html