September 7, 2000

Test Spins

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Did you know that all of your favorite artists, including R. Kelly and DMX, are trying gospel? You didn’t– because they aren’t. It just sounds like they are.

Fans praise Franklin for combining traditional gospel choir with contemporary hip-hop, but on One Nation Crew, which features a group of young singers and rappers hand-picked by Franklin, that seems to mean ripping off popular songs and throwing in some harmonies and too many hallelujahs.

Instrumentally, the tracks seem almost like samples at times, and the vocalists seem to have been selected because of the striking similarity of their voices to those of famous artists.

One Nation Crew is a substandard survey of hits of recent years. It is time Franklin took a risk and created his own genre; people like his songs, but probably because they’ve heard them all before.

He certainly should be praised for his use of so many different forms of music to celebrate Christ, but the challenge facing Franklin is clear: to truly be “revolutionary,” he must find a medium between being influenced by various types of music and imitating various types of music.

Archived article by Ed Howard