Gospel in the 1990’s

Gospel in the 1990's

In the 1920s, Thomas A. Dorsey melded negro spiritual themes with blues arrangements to create a new gospel music genre. Through the years, gospel music has evolved with mainstream music. In the 1990’s gospel musicians blended R&B, pop, and hip-hop with conventional religious concepts to attract a younger audience. There was criticism from traditional gospel fans, an artist like Kirk Franklin and Ricky Dillard, and the New Generation Chorale started to prove that the appropriation of secular music styles can produce spiritual and entertaining music.

Kirk Franklin
Ricky Dillard and the New Generation Chorale

Kirk Franklin

Kirk Franklin’s first two albums each sold one million copies each. Franklin’s albums sales are evidence that the new gospel-style appeals to his target audience. For example, in 1997, God’s Property from Kirk Franklin’s Nu Nation released a single entitled “Stomp” within the self entitles album. Stomp is a joyful, infectious reworking of George Clinton’s classic funk anthem, “One Nation Under a Groove.” The single “Stomp” pushed God’s Property to the top of the gospel charts and climbed to number two on the Billboard’s pop chart. Throughout the album, Franklin’s arrangements clearly indicate that he is making a strong appeal for hip-hop listeners, but he has not forgotten his contemporary and traditional gospel fans.

Ricky Dillard and the New Generation Choral

Ricky Dillard and the New Generation Chorale made an impression with the single “Worked It Out.” The song is a spiritual celebration with a hip-hop drum track and Dillard’s soulful vocals. Dillard allows the choir and soloists Chametta Richardson and Kim Burrell on a ten-minute song entitled “Jesus Paid It All.” Dillard manages to combine great solo work, superb writing, and arranging on a live recording that effectively Arturo’s power and spontaneity on a Sunday service.

In the 1990s, Gospel music had a drastic change, and it has influenced the gospel music young adults my age listen to. Young adults my age find it pleasing that gospel music sounds like music that they listen to daily. Kirk Franklin, Ricky Dillard, and the New Generation Chorale achieved their goal by changing gospel music and gaining young people to praise the Lord.

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