People may have heard the saying, “I do not listen to secular music.” A lot of people do not know the definition of secular. Secular is denoting attitudes, activities, or other things that have no religious or spiritual basis. This can also be referred to as “worldly.” In earlier times, Gospel artists stuck with Gospel music and secular artists stuck with secular music. In 2019, Gospel has broadened to new styles. From the traditional tambourine, pianos and choir singers, Gospel has branched out to studio hits, rappers and even a mixture of both old style and new.
In late August 2017, Gospel artist Tasha Cobbs dropped a new single featuring Nicki Minaj called, “I’m Getting Ready.” Nicki Minaj is a famous secular artist. According to www.billboard.com, in an interview Cobbs was asked how the collaboration between the two came about. She replied, “Nicki and I have a friendship that started a couple of years ago. I had done this show, and she saw it on television and reached out to me on Twitter just to say how she was very inspired by the song. Maybe about two years ago, she started commenting on my Instagram, so we communicated back and forth there, which started our friendship. One day on Instagram, she posted, ‘Tasha Cobbs, when you’re done with this album, shoot me 16 bars.’ Of course, both of our fans started going crazy.”
Cobbs tells how the song inspired Minaj and how it was Minaj’s idea to do a feature on “I’m Getting Ready”. This collaboration shook the world because people were not used to a famous artist in Gospel and a famous artist in Rap collaborating. Some people found it confusing how they could hear Minaj rap inappropriately in most of her songs then rap about God in another. In the interview, Cobbs tells about how “I’m Getting Ready” was Minaj’s first time being on a Gospel track. Cobbs also tells how she looked at the collaboration as an opportunity for Minaj to share her testimony that a lot of her fans did not know she had. Minaj took one step by speaking her truth as being a secular artist and having a relationship with God.
A famous secular artist that almost everyone, young and old, has heard of is Kanye West. When you think of West you think of his downfalls that the media have exploited. For example, his big “Make America Great” movement, his interruption of Taylor Swift’s “thank you” speech and his famous comment “Slavery was a choice.” In 2004, West dropped a single that people went crazy over. This single was called, “Jesus Walks”. West has always been passionate about his relationship with God. Along the way, he seemed to have drifted away from God and his morals.
In an interview with Zane Lowe, West expressed how a hospital visit brought him back to Christianity. According to www.complex.com, West stated, “I’ve spread a lot of things. There was a time I was letting you know what high fashion had done for me, I was letting you know what the Hennessey had done for me, but now I’m letting you know what Jesus has done for me, and in that I’m no longer a slave, I’m a son now, a son of God. I’m free. The most space that I had to think is when I went to the hospital.”
In 2019, West dropped his own Gospel album entitled, ‘Jesus is King’. This album featured a collaboration of Hip Hop, Rap and Gospel. This album also featured some secular artists and some Gospel artists. West expressed how he asked artists to “cleanse” themselves before and working on this album. Abstaining from things that are not of God, ‘Jesus is King’ is a success. Could this be the start of something new? How many more secular artists will step out and make a Gospel album? Gospel is continuously evolving, so who knows how many more lives will be positively affected by the change.