Should Gospel Music Be Played In Nightclubs?

nightclub

Last week, Erica Campbell dropped a controversial song from her debut album ‘Help 2.0’. The song is entitled ‘I Luh God’ and it begins:

‘I luh God, do you luh God, what’s wrong wit’chu?’

Listen to the full song here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MapyjAtETcY

It is when the beat drops that all hell breaks loose; the beat can only be labelled as a ‘trap’ beat and like all music that breaks the cultural norm, it has divided its gospel listeners.

‘I’m forgiven, I’m forgiven, see now I’m livin’

Campbell isn’t the first to push back against the norm and create a new sound; Kirk Franklin did it, Canton Jones did it and Lecrae didn’t reach the number 1 spot on the Billboard charts by churning out the usual ‘We Fall Down, But We Get Up’ or the ‘Take Me To The King’ sound. The song itself isn’t bad at all; in fact, it’s pretty great. The lyrics are positive, a mixture of her personal experiences and Biblical truths. It speaks of freedom, almost falling into sin but rising above it (I think.. some of the lyrics are lost and it’s too new to google the lyrics) falling on her knees and being filled with gratitude.

I think my concern with Gospel music is that it is only accessible and listened to by Christians. I’ve become sceptical of generic Gospel music of late; music which rises and falls at particular moments and has been written intentionally to make me feel a certain way. Sometimes I want to dance, sometimes I want to run around and it’s difficult to find a plethora of Gospel music that I can work out to and get dressed to in the mornings, (which doesn’t have a 500-people strong choir coming through at the end) which doesn’t make me want to cry and repent for sins that I am yet to commit.

I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with this sound; I just think we need to have variation. I realised this when my best friend came over to my house (who wasn’t a Christian at the time) asked me not to put on Gospel music because it was too slow and sad. I was confused – I told her that Gospel music was uplifting and she just needed to listen the lyrics. To her it wasn’t; she wanted music to make her feel good, not take her to the depths of her emotions. And to be honest, I got where she was coming from. While there are times where I want to hear a slow song that will bring me to my knees, there are times where I just want to hear Christian lyrics over a tight beat.

Our role as Christians is to share the message with the world but I am aware that trying to become accessible comes at a cost; it is difficult to change our style without changing who we are and moving away from our core. Do we submit to culture or do we shape it? Should we remain conservative and safe or should we adapt our sound in line with our ever-changing world? Gospel music should be distinctive but can it remain distinctive while becoming accessible? Do you want to hear Gospel music in places other than your church? Would it be a bad thing if this song were played in a club and 500 people started singing ‘I luh God, do you luh God?’

Views in the comment section over on Youtube are split. Many have said that they will not be listening to her album or any of her music in the future while others respect her innovative style and her confidence to step out.

What do you think?

Comment, comment, comment! I would really love to hear your views!

 

Disclaimer: I tried to type up the lyrics I quoted as accurately as possible but I literally couldn’t understand them at times. Please let me know if you hear something different so I can correct it. 

6 thoughts on “Should Gospel Music Be Played In Nightclubs?”

  1. We are meant to spread the good news to all, how do you reach all just by staying inside the four walls of your church? Anyone who follows Mary Mary see’s that they follow God and definitely make music that glorifies his name, so why should it be a problem if she has now used a “trap” beat?? This is how Christians get themselves a bad name because it makes us look rigid and judgmental. Only God knows how many non-Christian “trap” music lovers will hear that song and be led to Christ, even if it is just one the *clap* to Erica Campbell.

    God did not call us all to be the same, individuality is God’s creation. If God calls you then he qualifies you!!

    I definitely agree with sometimes wanting to hear gospel music that doesn’t make me want to cry or reflect.

  2. I’d say if it can reach those that are in the club then play it but this can no way be an excuse for true believers to enter a club. I really think that this change in Gospel music is to show people that we can sing about God and not be boring. I actually like the song!

  3. Great article. God bless you for writing this! Christian themed music needs to be everywhere as its refreshing for the spirit and extremely differentiated to worldly music. It’s quite interesting when people listen to certain Godly themed tracks on my phone and think “Wow, is this… Christian?”

    To answer the blog title question, YES. It could be the last time that person hears anything themed about Jesus. It’s great Erica Campbell tried something different trying to target different audiences as we know that’s not her style (maybe I’m wrong). We can only pray that the Lord continues to lead her in her ministry. As mentioned, it is important to stick to the core while branching out as we don’t want to be lost or disregarding His will. We must pray that the Lord will guide us and help us to trust in Him.
    ..
    Oh, for when you said “there are times where I just want to hear Christian lyrics over a tight beat.” Try listening to Andy Mineo – Everyday Thing, Paisano’s Wylin, Paganini. Bizzle – It Ain’t Easy. Skrip – Games feat. KIDD. Trip Lee – One Sixteen. Dee-1 – Jay, 50, and Weezy. KIDD – Murder My Flesh (song). Stay blessed 🙂

  4. I like variety too. In fact, as a music fan, I love variety. However, gospel music can’t be treated in the same way we treat ordinary secular sounds. When we talk about gospel music, we’re talking about a form of music that does not have a primary purpose to make everyone “dance” and “run around”. Rather, gospel music has the chief end of glorifying God and causing man to sing reverently and in awe of Him. This is the way true gospel music has always been since Old Testament times and it is up to us in the 21st century to preserve this form.

    After listening to the song twice, I’m still unsure about whether Ms. Campbell does this in her latest hit. The producer does a fine job with the beat, but if you’re listening to a song that is supposedly gospel and you think you are listening to Rick Ross, don’t we have a bit of a problem? Additionally, 99% of each of Erica’s verses is impossible to decipher. And what you are able to hear i.e. “I luh God…” is lacking in any real depth. Music for God ought to offer a whole lot more by way of content.

    What Ms. Campbell and a host of other ‘gospel’ artists ought to ask themselves is: does this music actually point people to God or is it just noise? Is the song more about the music than the lyrics? Are the lyrics biblical? If the answers to these questions are positive then, in my opinion, what we are left with is true gospel music. Music which explicitly exalts God. Music which should not be changed to fit in with society. Sadly, I don’t think Ms. Campbell’s song falls into that category.

  5. Tbh my main problem with the song is that i don’t like it lol, I do not think it is a particularly good song, whether Ms. Campbell is talking about Christ or not.

    There are artist (as the article mentions) that have made gospel songs and have broken through some sort of secular barrier. Lecrae for example, S.O. another example and also various ‘Gospel grime’ artist. These gospel artist have preserved their art while still making the gospel prevelant in their music.

    Now i do not believe the gospel is a genre, but is a message, which is why there can be Gospel hip hop, Gospel blues, Gospel Jazz, Gospel Grime etc. So my issue is not with the style of music as i am a fan of music. So if hip hop can be played in clubs why can’t a hip hop track which incorporates the gospel be played In clubs? are we going to beg the Dj’s not to play gospel? are we going to exclude gospel as a form of evangelism and leave it inside the church?

    Its interesting.

  6. Trap music isn’t my scene (Is Beyonce’s 7/11 trap? Because I find myself oddly bumping to the beat lol), but she should be allowed to explore other styles to deliver her message. Beyonce is hailed for switching up her style, why is Erica being crucified for doing the same? As long as there is still a valid message coming across, what is the problem?

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