Gospel, But Not Like You Know It

Written by on 9 April 2018

With the emergence of new music genres such as Afrobeats, Trap, Drill and the rest of the pack, Gospel music has pretty much been left on the shelf. But with a long-standing history and with so many variations and sub genres, Gospel is one of the most widespread genres of music. Widely associated with Christianity and dubbed Christian music, Gospel has become much more mainstream over time. And without Gospel there would be no Beyoncé (and that means no Destiny’s Child), no Aretha franklin, no Jennifer Hudson… and certainly no Kirk Franklin. But how much do we actually know about the genre? And how much has it changed over the years?

In light of Jemima’s Gospel Tings Show airing soon on Blast radio, we have accumulated hard-hitting facts about Gospel you probably didn’t know about.

It’s origins

Gospel was formed in the seventeenth century but came into prominence in the 20th century. And the original gospel songs were written and composed by authors such as Philip Bliss and George F. Root in the 1800’s.

There’s Gospel Rap Too

Christian Rap or Gospel Rap is almost as old as Hip-Hop itself and has actually been around since the early ‘80’s, when it was only prominent in underground clubs. Originating from protestant tradition in the US, there are also sub genres including catholic rap which has gained popularity recently. Christian rap is much more common in the UK, Australia, Brazil Canada and the US. Artists such as LeCrae, Trp Lee and Da’ T.R.U.T.H are amongst the many US gospel rappers that are up and current.

Katy Perry was Once a Gospel Singer

Though there isn’t a single Gospel album to her name, Katy Perry pursued a career in Gospel music as a teenager before later becoming the self-proclaimed princess of Pop. She was born into a Pentecostal family and both her parents are Pentecostal pastors since becoming born-again Christians.

Gospel Is A Good Form of Study Music and Keeps You Focused

From the early 1600’s right through to the American civil war in 1865, African-American slaves in the southern states sought relief in Christian-based songs to ease the hard labour in the fields, on the railroads, in the turpentine camps; wherever slaves were placed to work as forced labour. Christian songs gave them hope for a brighter future. Asides from being music of hope and encouragement, Gospel is a good form of study music and keeps you concentrated for a longer amount of time.

UK Gospel Rap

Gospel Rap isn’t just restricted to the US and has been in the UK scene for quite some time now. Going back to the days of Channel U, the artist and comedian that went by the name Simply Andy, came out with the ‘bibles bibles’ project which was a ground-breaking gospel rap movement that developed into a song of the same name. It featured many UK rappers and It became the first UK Gospel video to ever appear on Channel U. Perhaps one of the most recognisable Gospel Rap artists to come out of the UK is the urban contemporary Gospel Rap artist, Guvna B. He became the first rapper in UK history to top the Official Christian & Gospel charts and his 2015 ‘Secret World’ album was the UK’s highest selling Urban Christian album of that year.

Elements of African Music

Though early Gospel composers were of white descent, Gospel music is widely associated with African tradition and culture and is widely performed by members of the Pentecostal church. Accompanied with clapping of hands and swaying from side to side, African culture has a huge influence on Gospel music. So much so that despite the amount of commercial success that Afrobeats has garnered over the last few years, Gospel still remains the most popular music genre across Western and Southern Africa.

Most Famous Gospel Song of All Time

Amazing Grace is as it stands one of the most famous Gospel songs of all time and was actually written by former slave trader John Newton. The hymn is estimated to be performed 10 million times a year and has appeared on over 11,000 albums. It has been recorded by many musical greats such as: Elvis Presley, Aretha Franklin, Ray Charles, Johnny Cash and even former US president Barack Obama burst into the familiar tune during a memorial service for the Charleston shooting in South Carolina. Edwin Hawkin’s 2005 ‘Oh Happy Day’ is also amongst the most famous gospel songs ever to be produced and was also featured in the 1993 American musical comedy film ‘Sister Act 2’ starring Whoopi Goldberg and Lauryn Hill.

Snoop Dogg Is Now a Gospel Artist

As one of the most successful Hip-Hop artists to have ever lived, who is in the high ranks amongst Tupac and Biggie; Snoop Dogg, aka Snoop Lion aka D O Double G aka Snoop Dizzle, as we all know crossed over from his Hip-Hop origins to Reggae some time ago. But unbeknownst to most, he has left his Reggae days behind him and is currently in the process of releasing a Gospel album titled ‘Bible of Love’. Can things get any stranger?


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