Wednesday, December 10, 2008

J Moss Owes Child Support

"I'm not perfect/but I'm trying/When u needed me there
were a few times I didn't come running" - J Moss; from song "I'm Not Perfect"

This didn't pass our radar - we just failed to mention it pretty much.

While the Big Three auto companies continued to cry out to U.S. senators for a financial bailout on Capitol Hill, the Detroit News didn't miss one heartbeat in reporting the recent upset with gospel artist J. Moss; who was has been ordered by an Oakland Circuit Court judge to pay child support to a Georgia woman.

He is ordered to pay $1,028 a month to Lakisha Hughes, 28, of Douglasville, GA concerning her son, Christion until he reaches the age of eighteen. A paternity test was taken proving the 36-year old singer to be the child's father.

Did we add that Moss is a married man and has two other children with his wife? According to the Detroit paper, that seems to be the case. Another startling revelation surrounds Hughes' testimony citing that Moss offered to pay abortion expenses during her pregnancy. At the time of the article, Moss was not able to be reached for comment. Might be a good time for the singer to take a little hiatus from recording. At least 'til this cools down some.

Kudos to and the Detroit News for the article.


Sunday, November 16, 2008

Anniversary Week at

Join in the fun.
Get in on the excitement.
It's time to party!

It's been seven years since our inception and in the words of McFadden & Whitehead, "ain't no stoppin' us now." This week alone, we are planning a big celebration for our avid readers, supportive extended family and well-beloved supporters that is sure to trump anything we have done before. So sorry we didn't plan on hosting any big gospel concerts...that's soon to come...but we do have alot to offer at, our beloved Yahoo! music group PRAYZEHYMN and at our proud radio station - PRAYZEHYMN Express.

We've got tons of album reviews, music feeds, CD giveaways, articles, commentaries and a big holiday issue awaiting to be posted. So make sure you get in on the scoop and learn about this year's schedule of events surrounding our 7th anniversary promoting the best of gospel music.

By the way, if you want to be generous, show some love by sending an e-card or a MySpace "thank-you" or even a financial love gift to us.

Below you will find a link to a cool JPEG flyer featuring our activities.

[PARTY LINKS] (Official Website)

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Coco and Rosario To Wed

Three months ago, we selected a careful set of gospel performers that should take interest in modeling. Beauty may be in the eye of the beholder, but our fourteen selections - including Niyoki, DeLeon Richards. Lonnie Hunter and Mary Mary - are some of gospel's well-known beauty masters. Also making that list was Atlanta DJ CoCo Brother and Joann Rosairo. Little did we know that those two would make an announcement later that they would walk down the aisle to get married.

Cory "CoCo" Condrey made the announcement and spoke with AJC about the big date. "I'm getting married December 31."

The two met for the first time in person this year after orbiting around each other for a couple of years, with Rosario performing gospel and Condrey remaining busy with his career. According to AJC, the two contacted each other through emails and by phone. Rosario was booked for a concert in Atlanta, and the two agreed to met and have dinner. And the magic began.

Listeners of CoCo's show have mixed emotions about the announcement, since CoCo created buzz about a woman named "Z" he planned on tieing the knot with. One blogger uttered out her frustration on the AJC comments' board.

"COCO said on air last year that some girl name Z was the only girl for him and they were getting married on 8.08.08 this year. What a hypocrite!!

Another blogger chimed in right after.

"Sabrina, I applaud you for saying what so many of us have been thinking. CoCo is clearly confused and has been acting completely hypocritical. I wonder how long it is going to take for him to wake up and realize the fallacy of his ways."

Still, who would have thought that two of our beauty pageant contestants would pair off to marry? One thing is for sure - the two make a beautiful, sexy couple. Need proof?

JoAnn Rosario and Gospel DJ CoCo Brother to Wed []

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Obama Wins U.S. Election

It didn't take long after 8 o'clock on Tuesday evening for the majority of electoral votes to slide in Sen. Barack Obama's favor. The Democratic hopeful received the news that big states including Florida, Ohio, New Mexico, Pennsylvania and even battleground states like Colorado, North Carolina and California were awarded to him. As thousands including Rev. Jesse Jackson and Oprah Winfrey united in Chicago's Grant Park for a big victory celebration, the rest of the country - a projected 71.5 million people - watched and waited to see Obama claim the prize. CBS News announced a big lead of electoral votes (206-135) by 10 p.m. ET and the Associated Press went on to make the big announcement. The long brutal and historical campaign was finally over. Republican challenger Sen. John McCain went on to concede the race to a very gloomy and saddened crowd in Arizona and Sen. Barack Obama was announced to be the 44th president of the United States of America; making history globally for becoming the first black commander in chief of the U.S.

Popular blogger Rod McCullom of Rod 2.0 stated, "Barack Obama's victory crystallizes the American experience. The election of a man of color to the nation's highest office, only 44 years after Selma, is a transformational moment and demonstrates our nation is finally healing its deep racial wounds." To many African-Americans and minorities across the country, Obama's win was expressed with shouts of joy and loud chants of "Yes We Can" at viewing parties and prayer vigils.

On a different note,, one of the leading publications for evangelicals, remain openly nervous about an Obama candidacy. There's no sign of victory or celebration on the conservative online publication. While a moving commentary from Deann Alford recites the emotional wounds of dramatic racism and legalized segregation, most of the posts have been careful and hesitant to celebrate a moment that many media journalists are bold enough to call a defining "historic" moment. Sarah Pulliam cited, "Evangelicals will have to learn to work with Barack Obama's administration, no matter how ecstatic or how disappointed they may be."

For popular black websites, superstar MySpace pages and gospel e-zines including, Black Voices and our good friend Black Gospel Blog, the party remained vigorous and apparent. R&B crooner John Legend sings about the need for hope and change, provoked by Obama's successful campaign, on "If You're Out There;" found on his newly-released project Evolver. In gospel news surrounding President-Elect Obama, gospel legend Dorothy Norwood has recorded a studio reworking of her classic 1992 hit "Victory Is Mine" in tribute to Obama's inspirational path to the White House. The remake features background vocals from Ricky Dillard's New G. "Victory Is Mine (Obama Mix)" has been released and sent to radio and is expected to show up on her upcoming album Fifty Years - It's Been Worth It All; hitting shelves in the beginning of 2009.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

24th Annual Stellar Award Nominations

Central City Productions, under chairman Don Jackson, announced the nominees for the 24th Annual Stellar Awards - which takes place on Saturday, January 17, 2009 at the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville, TN. Leading in multiple categories are Marvin Sapp, Beverly Crawford, Jonathan Nelson, Ricky Dillard, CeCe Winans, Kirk Franklin, Endurance, Youthful Praise and Canton Jones.

Also announced, renowned comedian/actor Sinbad will be serving as the host for the live taping.

The Stellar Awards have also selected their honorees for the upcoming show. The James Cleveland Lifetime Achievement Award will be awarded to Daryl Coley, while the Most Notable Achievement award will be given to Vickie Winans. The Ambassador Bobby Jones Award will be given to the Rance Allen Group.

Below you will find an extensive list of categories and their respected nominees for the 24th annual Stellar Awards.

Artist of the Year
Beverly Crawford; Live From Los Angeles; JDI Records
Dorinda Clark-Cole; Take It Back; Zomba Label Group
Kirk Franklin; The Fight of My Life; Fo Yo Soul/Gospocentric/Zomba Label Group
Marvin Sapp; Thirsty; Verity/Zomba Label Group
Ricky Dillard & New G; The 7th Episode: Live in Toronto; Nuspring Records/EMI Gospel

Song of the Year (Songwriter; Song; Label)
Canton Jones ; "My Day"; Arrow Records
Jonathan Nelson and Justin Savage; "My Name Is Victory"; Integrity Music
Marvin Sapp / Matthew Brownie; "Never Would Have Made It "; Zomba Label Group
Myron Butler and John Webb; "Stronger"; EMI Gospel
Percy Gray; "God Is My Everything"; New Haven Records

Male Vocalist of the Year
Byron Cage; Live at the Apollo: The Proclamation; Gospocentric/Zomba Label Group
Isaiah D. Thomas; The Greatest; Habakkuk Music
Marvin Sapp; Thirsty; Verity/Zomba Label Group
Marvin Winans; Alone But Not Alone; PureSprings Gospel
The John Tillery Project; The Next Level; Danbla Records

Female Vocalist of the Year
Beverly Crawford; Live From Los Angeles; JDI Records
CeCe Winans;Thy Kingdom Come; PureSprings Gospel
Dorinda Clark-Cole; Take It Back; Zomba Label Group
Jessica Greene; 4 The World; Habakkuk Music
Shirley Caesar; After 40 Years... Still Sweeping Through the City; ShuBel Records/Light Records

Group Duo of the Year
Deitrick Haddon Presents Voices of Unity; Together in Worship; Tyscot Records
Israel & New Breed; Live: A Deeper Level; Integrity Music
Jonathan Nelson featuring Purpose; Right Now Praise; Integrity Music
The John Tillery Project; The Next Level; Danbla Records
Youthful Praise featuring JJ Hairston; Exalted ...Live in Baltimore; Evidence Gospel / Light Records

New Artist of the Year
Jai Reed; Anointed for Purpose; TLR Records
Jessica Greene; 4 The World; Habakkuk Music
Melody; The Reason; N'Flyte Music Group
Terrell Hunt; Awesome; Rich Escape Music
The Murrills; Donald Lawrence Introduces The Murrills Family Prayer; Verity/Zomba Label Group

CD of the Year
Dorinda Clark-Cole; Take It Back; Zomba Label Group
Kirk Franklin; The Fight of My Life; Fo Yo Soul/Gospocentric/Zomba Label Group
Marvin Sapp; Thirsty; Verity/Zomba Label Group
Ricky Dillard & New G; The 7th Episode: Live in Toronto; Nuspring Records/EMI Gospel
Tye Tribbett & G.A.; Stand Out; Columbia Records/Axis

Choir of the Year
Chicago Mass Choir Just Having Church Live; New Haven Records
Isaiah D. Thomas; The Greatest; Habakkuk Music
Ricky Dillard & New G; The 7th Episode: Live in Toronto; Nuspring Records/EMI Gospel
Tye Tribbett & G.A.; Stand Out; Columbia Records/Axis
Shekinah Glory Ministry; Jesus; Kingdom Records

Producer of the Year
Aaron Lindsey; Thirsty; Zomba Label Group
Donald Lawrence; Donald Lawrence Introduces The Murrills Family Prayer; Verity/Zomba Label Group
Isaiah D. Thomas, Warren Jones, & Christopher Leach; The Greatest; Habakkuk Music
Jonathan Nelson, Justin Savage, & Kenneth Shelton; Right Now Praise; Integrity Music
Kirk Franklin & Harold Martin; The Fight of My Life; Fo Yo Soul/Gospocentric/Zomba Label Group

Contemporary Group/Duo of the Year
Deitrick Haddon Presents Voices of Unity; Together in Worship; Tyscot Records
Israel & New Breed; Live: A Deeper Level; Integrity Music
Jonathan Nelson featuring Purpose; Right Now Praise; Integrity Music
Myron Butler & Levi; Stronger; EMI Gospel
Vashawn Mitchell and Friends; Promises; Tyscot Records

Traditional Group/Duo of the Year
Bishop F.C. Barnes & Co.; The Barnes Family Reunion II; AIR Gospel
Doug & Melvin Williams; Duets II; Blackberry Records
Endurance; I've Got a Home;SCCME Records
Lee Williams & The Spiritual QC's; So Much To Be Thankful For; MCG Records
The Canton Spirituals; Driven; Verity/Zomba Label Group

Contemporary Male of the Year
Byron Cage; Live at the Apollo: The Proclamation; Gospocentric/Zomba Label Group
Canton Jones; Kingdom Business; Arrow Records
Jonathan Nelson featuring Purpose; Right Now Praise; Integrity Music
Marvin Winans; Alone But Not Alone; PureSprings Gospel
The John Tillery Project; The Next Level; Danbla Records

Traditional Male of the Year
Bishop Paul S. Morton; Embracing the Next Dimension; Light Records/ Tehillah
Keith 'Wonderboy' Johnson; Keith 'Wonderboy' Johnson presents The Rising Stars of Quartet Vol. 1; Malaco Gospel
Lee Williams & The Spiritual QC's; So Much To Be Thankful For; MCG Records
Luther Barnes; The Barnes Family Reunion II; AIR Gospel
Marvin Sapp; Thirsty; Verity/Zomba Label Group

Contemporary Female of the Year
CeCe Winans;Thy Kingdom Come; PureSprings Gospel
Doreen Vail; Odyssey; Vail House Productions
Joann Rosario; Joyous Salvation; Verity/Zomba Label Group
Regina Belle; Love Forever Shines; Pendulum Records
Tonya Hairston Ware; The Voice; Princess Production Company

Traditional Female of the Year
Angela Spivey; Angela Spivey and The Voices of Victory "Eyes on the Prize"; Tekoa Records
Beverly Crawford; Live From Los Angeles; JDI Records
Dorinda Clark-Cole; Take It Back; Zomba Label Group
Dorothy Norwood; No Request; Malaco Gospel
Nancey Jackson-Johnson; The Launch Out Project; Habakkuk Music

Contemporary CD of the Year
Canton Jones; Kingdom Business; Arrow Records
Jonathan Nelson featuring Purpose; Right Now Praise; Integrity Music
Marvin Winans; Alone But Not Alone; PureSprings Gospel
Deitrick Haddon Presents Voices of Unity; Together in Worship; Tyscot Records
Israel & New Breed; Live: A Deeper Level; Integrity Music

Traditional CD of the Year
Beverly Crawford; Live From Los Angeles; JDI Records
Bishop Paul S. Morton; Embracing the Next Dimension; Light Records/ Tehillah
Endurance; I've Got a Home;SCCME Records
Chicago Mass Choir Just Having Church Live; New Haven Records
Marvin Sapp; Thirsty; Verity/Zomba Label Group

Urban/ Inspirational Single / Performance of the Year (Artist; Song; Label)
Canton Jones; "My Day" Arrow Records
CeCe Winans; "Waging War" PureSprings Gospel
Deitrick Haddon featuring Ruben Studdard & Mary, Mary; "Love Him Like I Do " Integrity Gospel/Gospocentric/Zomba Label Group
Jonathan Nelson featuring Purpose; "My Name Is Victory " Integrity Music
Kirk Franklin; "Declaration: (This Is It)" Fo Yo Soul/Gospocentric/Zomba Label Group

Music Video of the Year (artist, song/CD title, label)
Darius Brooks & The Tommies Reunion Darius Brooks & The Tommies Reunion; Journey Music Group
Deitrick Haddon featuring Ruben Studdard & Mary, Mary: "Love Him Like I Do"; Gotta Have Gospel! 5; Integrity Gospel/Gospocentric/Zomba Label
Kirk Franklin: "Declaration"; The Fight of My Life; Fo Yo Soul/Gospocentric/Zomba Label Group Marvin Sapp: "Never Would Have Made It"; Thirsty; Verity/Zomba Label Group
Myron Butler & Levi: "Stronger"; Stronger; EMI Gospel

Contemporary Choir of the Year
Brent Jones & The T.P. Mobb The Ultimate Weekend; Tyscot Records
James Fortune & FIYA; The Transformation; WorldWide Music
Jonathan Nelson featuring Purpose; Right Now Praise; Integrity Music
Youthful Praise featuring JJ Hairston; Exalted ...Live in Baltimore; Evidence Gospel / Light Records
Ricky Dillard & New G; The 7th Episode: Live in Toronto; Nuspring Records/EMI Gospel

Traditional Choir of the Year
Bishop Charles E. Blake presents The West Angeles COGIC Mass Choir No Limit; EMI Gospel
Bishop Paul Morton & The Full Gospel Baptist Church Choir; Embracing the Next Dimension; Light Records/ Tehillah
Darius Brooks & The Tommies Reunion Darius Brooks & The Tommies Reunion; Journey Music Group
Chicago Mass Choir Just Having Church Live; New Haven Records
The New Life Community Choir featuring John P. Kee Nothing But Worship; Zomba Label Group

Instrumental CD of the Year
Angélla Christie; The Breath of Life; ACSM Record Company
Barry D; Born To Play; TAQA Records/New Day
Courtney Nero; Make Me Walk; Courtney Nero Music
Esther Williams & Davey Yarborough; In the Spirit; DAV-EST
Jeff Majors; Sacred Major 7th; Music One

Special Event CD of the Year
Briana Scott; O What A Night; Waterbrooke Music
Dr. Bobby Jones; Bobby Jones Presents Ultimate Gospel; Time Life
The Clark Sisters; The Best of the Clark Sisters Encore; Dexterity Sounds
Vickie Winans; Happy Holidays from Vickie Winans; Destiny Joy Records
Yolanda Adams; What A Wonderful Time; Columbia

Rap/Hip Hop Gospel CD of the Year
Da' T.R.U.T.H; Open Book; Cross Movement Records
FLAME; Our World Redeemed; Cross Movement Records
Frontlynaz; Game Over; Frontlynaz, Inc.
Sho Baraka; Turn My Life Up; Reach Records
Trip Lee; 20/20; Reach Records

Children's Performance of the Year
Ashley Payne; Peace in Heaven; Champion-Payne Productions
Dijon; A Kid's Point of View; Verity/Zomba Label Group
First Coast Children's Choir/FISH Kids; Raise the Praise/"Raise The Praise" Fitness; Spirit of Life Records
Kaira Miller; In God's Time/It Ain't Over; GFM Entertainment
The Bradby Girls; So Grateful; Jewel Records

Quartet of the Year
The Blind Boys of Alabama; Down in New Orleans; Time Life
Lee Williams & The Spiritual QC's; So Much To Be Thankful For; MCG Records
Luther Barnes & The Sunset Jubilaires; The Barnes Family Reunion II; AIR Gospel
Endurance; I've Got a Home; SCCME Records
The Canton Spirituals; Driven; Verity/Zomba Label Group

Recorded Music Package of the Year [art credit / album (artist) / label]
Aziz Peregrino-Brimah for Bezworks Design, LLC [] and Vickie Winans (art Direction/design); David Deutsch, (photography); Happy Holidays from Vickie Winans (Vickie Winans); Destiny Joy Records
Michael Jay, (graphics); Arron Holmes(logo sketch art); Roussan Etienne, Jr.(photography); In His Image Band Gospel Go-Go, Live in DC: In His Image Band Gospel Go Go: "Word Of God" (In His Image Band); R.O.U. Marketing
Michelle Lukianovich (art direction/design); Keith Major (photography); Thirsty (Marvin Sapp); Verity/Zomba Label Group
Michelle Lukianovich (art direction/design); Meghan Foley/ Michelle Lukianovich (art director); Keith Major (photography); Take It Back (Dorinda Clark-Cole); Zomba Label Group
Donald Lawrence Introduces The Murrills Family Prayer (The Murrills); Verity/Zomba Label Group

Praise and Worship CD of the Year
Byron Cage; Live at the Apollo: The Proclamation; Gospocentric/Zomba Label Group
Marvin Sapp; Thirsty; Verity/Zomba Label Group
Israel & New Breed; Live: A Deeper Level; Integrity Music
CeCe Winans;Thy Kingdom Come; PureSprings Gospel
Shekinah Glory Ministry; Jesus; Kingdom Records

Monday, October 27, 2008

A Nightmare for a Dreamgirl

A very disturbing story hits the home of Jennifer Hudson, the former American Idol finalist and proud Academy Award winner. In an intensifying and on-the-hour drama investigation, the bodies of Jennifer Hudson's mother, Darnell Donerson, 57, and 29-year-old Jason Hudson were pronounced dead Friday in their South side home in Chicago. An Amber alert was also issued on Friday for 7-year-old Julian King, nephew of Jennifer Hudson. The child is still reported missing.

Police are investigating the situation very closely but do not know the motives as of yet of their killings. They are certain that the case is "domestic related;" according to police spokesman Dan O'Brien.

In a MySpace blog post on Sunday, Jennifer Hudson said she was grateful for community support and posted a picture of her sister's son.

"Thank you all for your prayers and your calls. Please keep praying for our family and that we get Julian King back home safely," the blog entry said. "If anyone has any information about his whereabouts please contact the authorities immediately ... Once again thank you all for being there for us through this tough time."

In state custody at this time is William Balfour, 27, the estranged husband of Jennifer Hudson's sister, Julia Hudson. He is considered to be a suspect in a "double homicide investigation." He is currently on parole and has a very discouraging record of previous crimes against him including a seven year sentence to prison for attempted murder, vehicular hijacking and possessing a stole vehicle.

The timing of this grueling and depressing saga of drama comes at yet another peak for the beloved Oscar-winning actress and singer. She is currently enjoying the success of her recently-released best-selling album and a number one single ("Spotlight") on the R&B/Hip-hop charts and can be seen in the motion picture The Secret Life of Bees.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Remembering Dee Dee Warwick

Another soul legend has passed us by. She probably didn't earn the bright glow of celebrity found in her infamous sister Dionne Warwick, but Dee Dee Warwick was a class act that cut some a number of R&B hits in the 1960s and 70s with "Foolish Fool," "I'm Gonna Make You Love Me" (later recorded by the Supremes) , the original version of "You're No Good" (also re-recorded by Linda Ronstadt in 1975) and the Top Ten R&B hit "She Didn't Know (She Kept on Talking)."

Born in Newark, New Jersey, Warwick started singing as a teenager and joined The Gospelaires and her renowned family gospel group The Drinkard Singers (also featuring Cissy Houston and Dionne Warwick). At the height of the Drinkard Singers' career, Warwick would continue to provide background vocals for their albums; leading to historic background sessions with greats like Aretha Franklin, Roberta Flack and Wilson Pickett.

Dee Dee reunited with her singing family members (Cissy, Whitney, Dionne) on "Family First;" a song featured in the Tyler Perry movie soundtrack Daddy's Little Girls. Warwick also recorded with Dionne in January 2008 on her gospel album Why We Sing; performing a duet with her sister on the album's title track. These two works ended up being the last of her released work. Dee Dee Warwick died Saturday at a nursing home in Essex County, said family spokesman Kevin Sasaki. She had been in failing health in recent months, he said, and her sister was with her when she passed away.

She indeed will be missed. Yet her memory lingers with spirit and in song.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Lecrae Tops Billboard's Gospel Charts

For the second week since its September 30th release date, hip-hop/Christian rapper Lecrae tops the Billboard's Gospel charts at number one with his third album release Rebel; selling an astonishing 9,800 copies in its first week and 5,600 copies during the second week of release. The album also did remarkably well on the pop charts - peaking at an astonishing number 60. Incredible for a gospel rap album. By the way, the album knocked former number one and gold-certified album, Marvin Sapp's Thirsty, to the number two spot.

Rapzilla, an online Christian hip-hop magazine, calls the album "a verbal onslaught against the world's view on life in modern day culture."

Lecrae is the first holy hip-hop star to top Billboard's gospel charts for two consecutive weeks in a row. Goes to show you how gospel music is changing before our very eyes. I don't think Grandma is gonna like this one bit.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Gospel Today Issue Pulled From Lifeway

We failed to report on the other big news headliner for the month of September, but still felt it was of great importance to discuss it. During the height of a heavy political season and with an turbulent market and economy on our hands, Lifeway Christian Bookstores - one of the largest U.S. chains of Christian books, magazines, film and other media resources - made it an effort to pull the Fayetteville, Georgia based Gospel Today Magazine from its shelves during the months of September and October. The reason behind their decision had little with the book's popularity and everything to do with the five smiling women embracing its September/October issue. Five popular and influential women pastors, dressed in black and resting on church pews, embraced the front cover - including Pastor Tamara Bennett, Pastor Claudette Copeland, Bishop Millicent Turner. Pastor Sheryl Brady and Pastor Kimberly Ray. The store, owned by the Southern Baptist Convention, decided not to display the issue on its stores' shelves due to their belief and policies that restricts the role of a pastor to men.

“It’s really kind of sad when you have people like [Gov.] Sarah Palin and [Sen.] Hillary Clinton providing encouragement and being role models for women around the world that we have such a divergent opinion about women who are able to be leaders in the church,” Gospel Today's publisher Teresa Hairston said. “We weren’t trying to pick a fight. We just did a story on an emerging trend in a lot of churches.”

Lifeway will still carry the controversial issue but will be sold after customer request. Meaning you must walk up to the front counter and ask for it. While behind-the-counter items are quite familiar in retail because of a number of issues ranging from low-volume quantities to high demand, from high-theft reasons to age prevention, the bold hypocrisy of Lifeway Christian Stores for their reasons to hide their merchandise from the public is a baffling subject for discussion.

Here's the problem that arises to the surface. If you don't agree with the magazine and its point-of-view, pull the magazine PERIOD. But Lifeway doesn't exactly pull the magazine for good. They also didn't just pull the issue. The magazine is still available for purchase, but you have to ask for it...because it's sitting behind the service desk. One thing's for sure: it is apparent that the Southern Baptists aren't too crazy to miss out on a good sale. Now I wonder what else is behind that service desk for sale that's not on the shelf.


Thursday, October 02, 2008

Announcing: Paul Porter CD Giveaway

The highly-anticipated debut project from Paul Porter - the renowned lead singer of the Christianaires - is finally out. And with guest appearances from Rance Allen and Harvey Watkins, Jr., A NEW DAY is proving to be one of the year's most talked-about gospel projects. The project, released on Light Records, boasts the radio singles "What Did You Do?" and the uptempo jam "I Made It Through" and is currently in stores now!

But you can one of the fortunate ones to win a copy of the project in our WALK IN THE LIGHT CD Giveaway contest. Thanks to the good folks at Light Records, five lucky contestants will be chosen as winners. All you have to do is answer the trivia question correctly and email us at the right answer with your full name and city location. With just a little brainstorm power and prayer, we are most certain you will get the answer right.

The trivia question is:
What American Idol winner mentioned in an autobiography their affection to the musical influence of Paul Porter?

For more information and details (especially the deadline) on the WALK IN THE LIGHT CD Giveaway, click the following link:

Edited: OCTOBER 20, 2008

The contest is over for the WALK IN THE LIGHT CD Giveaway. We had a great number of people who entered the contest but as said previously, only five contestants would be selected. And we are ever proud to announce our winners! They are:

Lisa Toussiant // Scarborough, Ontario Canada
Jermarlo Brown // Huntsville, AL
Ruth-Michelle Senegal // Manassas, VA
Keemon Leonard // San Marcos, TX
Tristian Williams // Durham, NC

The correct answer to the trivia question was Fantasia Barrino.

More CD and DVD giveaways and contests are to stay tuned!

Walk In The Light Contest []
Paul Porter CD Review: A New Day [] [Official Website]
Light Records [Official Website]
Paul Porter MySpace Page []

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Round Three: I'm Getting 'Weeks' In The Knees

You would have thought the painful public display of holy crap coming from the Bynum vs. Weeks camp would have subsided and disappeared a year later. Well, it a sense it has...but Bishop Thomas Weeks, III, the pastor of a chain of Global Destiny churches that could be compared with McDonalds in the fast food world, is hitting the headlines one last time with his latest campaign for the "next Mrs. Weeks."

Oh, no. Not this.

Yes, yes indeed.

TMZ, the hit television tabloid teaser, even covered the craziness of it all. In their online story entitled "Wife-Beatin Bishop's New Fight Is With Cupid," the story zoomed in on Weeks' documentation found on his website of a series of webisodes searching for a new spouse. Yes, after the big bang marriage of popular televangelist Juanita Bynum failed before the public in 2007 and an even greater divorce was anticipated. He lists his criteria for the next Mrs. Weekls as "someone who can bear children, is sensual and can't be ugly." As expected, droves of women have already applied to enter the "contest" in hopes to marry the former husband of Bynum. With hit reality-TV shows like American Idol, the Bachelor and Love New York sweeping air time with mind-blowing stats, Weeks hopes to get in on the phenom and seriously hopes to find the next love of his life.

Now news reports are rushing in and are putting a serious strain on Weeks' reality dating show. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports the first full episode of "Who Will Be the Next Mrs. Weeks" being postponed because of "incomplete contract negotiations with a reality television producer." The news leader also mentions that Weeks is still serving probation for attacking Bynum back in August 2007; in which he pleaded guilty.

Not sure if TBN or Daystar will be picking up this show this fall in their daily programming or if it will just be limited to Weeks' website, but we seriously hope the bow-tie pastor visits Dr. Drew for a weeks worth of counseling. The last thing Weeks needs is to get "weak in the knees" again...and to spend another million on a big fancy wedding. Oh, hold on...sorry...BIG typo...I think we all know who paid for the last one.

Bishop Weeks [Official Website]
Weeks vs. Bynum: Round Two [PRAYZE Report]
The "Week-est" Link [PRAYZE Report]

Monday, September 22, 2008

Fourteen Years Later; Remembering Mattie Moss Clark

This afternoon while opening the front door to go to the mailbox to see what bills arrived, I was greeted by a sealed white package lying on the porch. Usually the U.S. Postal Service (not UPS) rings the doorbell to see if anyone is home, but I didn’t get that today. Maybe because the television was so loud in the house that I couldn’t really hear anything outside my bedroom. I anxiously open the package to see what beautiful piece of vinyl I received this week after weeks of glorious victories on eBay in search of priceless, vintage gospel records. This week, I received a sealed copy of The Best of the Southwest Michigan State Choir of the Church of God in Christ. The album, released in 1979, is a double-disc collection featuring some of the greatest sides ever recorded with the famed historic choir on the Savoy music label. Much of the material comes out of the late ‘50s and 1960s including “I Thank You Lord,” “Salvation Is Free,” the contemporary sounds of "He Abides" and the charismatic COGIC standard “Climbing Up The Mountain.”

And this wonderful institution in gospel music history was led by a powerful force named Dr. Mattie Moss Clark. The choir went on to record a number of albums for several music labels including Savoy and Sound of Gospel - three of those recordings were certified gold. But the group made their mark for being one of the earliest choirs to record their music using the classic three-part harmony. They also earned the distinguished honor to being one of the first groups to record albums in a live recording setting.

After opening the album to journey back in time to these classics, I decided to do a little extensive research on the legendary matriarch. Most of the stuff I already knew, but what I found to be quite bizarre is that of all the days...I received this album in the mail on the exact same day when Dr. Mattie Moss Clark departed this life and passed away. Today marks the fourteen anniversary of her passing after a severe bout with diabetes.

In this new age of technology, some are sharing their massive collections with the world quicker than the music labels. At, Johnzoe777 and Rowoches, a 24-year old music buff, have posted video clips of some of Mattie Moss Clark’s greatest hits - straight off of the needle of those wonderful vinyl discs. Some of the clips even feature glimpses of the classic “Harvey” album covers. Songs posted by include ‘Write My Name Above,” “Climbing Up The Mountain,” “I Thank You Lord” and “Oh Sinner, You Can’t Hide from God.”

Finding Mattie Moss Clark music, whether it is on vinyl, tape, CD or on mp3 websites, remain a terrible hide-and-seek goose hunt for many music lovers. Much of Savoy’s divine past lies in rest in the hands of Jackson, MS-based Malaco Records and hasn’t see the light of day since vinyl was king of record shops. There may be a few legal matters holding the label back on whether it is possible to re-release the material as reissues or as revamped “greatest hits” collections, since Arista Records was in charge of manufacturing and distribution of all of Savoy’s album releases from 1975 to 1986. Savoy has released other compilations in the past, but barely a trace of them in the last five years - except for compilations from New York Restoration Choir, Georgia Mass Choir and the imbalance assortment of Savoy Gospel Classics. But there’s a ton of gospel classics and never-released cuts sitting in the chambers of Malaco and continues to collect dust as the company continues their worldwide domination to buy out other smaller music labels. The most recent acquisition included AIR Gospel. But for Mattie Moss Clark fans, they have to sit and wait for the original masters of her well-beloved recordings to somehow earn some T.L.C. (tender love & care). With so much potential to revive their catalog and to bring new found attention to their priceless goldmine, the Malaco Music Group continues to withdraw any sign of re-releasing records from the Roberta Martin Singers, the Angelic Choir, Isaac Douglas, the Davis Sisters, the Caravans, Jessy Dixon, the O’Neal Twins, Sara Jordan Powell, Donald Vails, Georgia Mass Choir, New Jerusalem Baptist Church Choir and the Gospel Music Workshop of America Mass Choir.

Well, in the meantime - we're off to eBay and YouTube.

Below is a YouTube clip of the Mattie Moss Clark "Write My Name Above;" featuring the legendary Rose Marie-Ransom on lead.

Gospel 101: The Official Gospel Timeline []
Rowoches posts "Climbing Up the Mountain" (Original) []
Johnzoe posts "Write My Name Above" []
Mattie Moss Clark Biography & Partial Discography []

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Richard Smallwood Gets Political

With high-rising tensions imploding on the political terrain as the U.S. presidential election nears, decided to reveal even stronger tensions within the gospel community with their disgust towards the Bush administration. An article written by Christopher Anderson exposes Richard Smallwood's recent run-in with the current Bush administration and being blacklisted from the White House's Black Music Month Celebration earlier this year.

The article mentions how Smallwood, renowned composer of "Total Praise," "I Love the Lord" and "Center of My Joy," was previously invited to the White House festivities, but was later dismissed from the program after Smallwood cited that the Bush administration learned of his involvements at a March retirement celebration for the controversial Chicago preacher Dr. Jeremiah Wright (whom got in trouble earlier this year for what the media called "anti-semetic" statements). Smallwood spoke to the press at the Democratic National Convention in Denver where he was chosen to perform.

Strangely, Black Music Month is celebrated in June, yet the article is issued as a press release closing in on the upcoming November election date; possibly adding octane to the ever-growing tensions within the Republican and Democratic camps. What's very strange about the article is that it mentions for a brief second September's Gospel Heritage Month - a U.S. observance passed by the Senate this summer - and Smallwood "graciously" saying yes to the invite. Thereafter, the White House called his assistant Kelvin Leach and the invitation was later withdrawn.

Not sure if the article meant to focus on both June and September celebrations or if it was only limited to the gospel celebrations in September only, but what is oddly visible is that the timing of the article's posting is another sizzling firecracker hoping to expose the painful relations between both political parties. Smallwood's choice of words are also obviously striking: "So many of us are tired of politics as usual. The crisis that our country is in is because of this [George W. Bush] Administration. The hypocrisy, the untruths have put a blotch on the very principals this country was founded upon.”

Along with the super list of high-profiled celebrities and superstars aiding Obama's campaign, there's also a highly visible and proactive number of black gospel artists joining the team including Beverly Crawford, William Murphy, John P. Kee, Donnie McClurkin and Mary Mary. Add the Maestro to that growing list.


Monday, September 15, 2008

Solange Snaps On the Air

Solange Knowles, the baby sister of super pop star Beyonce' Knowles, is getting the big buzz in the media for more reasons than imagined. With her new album, Sol-Angel and the Hadley St. Dream, arriving on music shelves this month and her manager/father thrusting the singer into a frenzy of press interviews and public appearances, Solange is also becoming the talk of the town for possessing a "bitchy" attitude so early in her career. We will get to the episode in question a bit later. For now, let us give you the back drop of the story.

Divaism and big doses of attitude is something we may have expected to come from the singer since her first album, Solo Star, underperformed in the U.S. and dwarfed in sales when compared to Mathew Knowles' Music World other clients such as Kelly Rowland and her sister Beyonce'. The 2003 release peaked at number 49 pop and 23 R&B/hip-hop and was being sold in some stores for less that $6 just to make room for newer album releases. Her three-year marriage to football player Daniel Smith also became the talk of the town when she opened up about proceedings of a painful divorce in the October 2007 issue of Essence Magazine. Five years later, Solange returns to the music front with a different sound - almost reminiscent of the Supremes' Motown flavor with a hint of electronica. The album, featuring production work from the Bama Boyz, the Neptunes and Freemasons, became her first domestic Top 10 album, sold 46,000 copies in its first week and debuted at number 9 on Billboard 200. This is good news indeed for the singer as she tries to break away from the pressures of being compared to her popular sister.

What's even better news is that the album has been getting moderately good reviews on the album. The Times called it "a modern classic" and gave it four out of five stars as its score. Some critics, while citing the cool sounds, have addressed Knowles' weak vocals. Jody Rosen of Rolling Stone magazine cited Knowles' attempts to recreate Erykah Badu's psychedelic-soul tracks, but calls her vocal abilities as "embarassing." She goes on to say that the album's sound is like a "woozy lava lamp glow." If you haven't heard Solange perform live, check out videos on YouTube of her performing on the Today Show and most recently, the Tyra Banks Show. She performs "i Decided," her recent single, and falls into a few cracks and irritable chit-chat segments to cover up the unclassy vocals. Her background singers and band even overshadow her solo performance.

Maybe her frustrations - with the media and maybe her family - are becoming too hard to mask as Solange becomes the talk of the town once again for her media rage on a Fox 5 news anchorwoman during a live interview. It's a chilling uncomfortable confrontation that smells like a brewing cat-fight. Thankfully, the anchorwoman plays off Solange's words and goes into classy mode to talk about her new album.

The folks' at The Soup, a Yahoo! comedic skit focusing on celebs and Hollywood pitfalls, even joked about it...also recognizing Solange's attitude.

And to make matters worse...Solange has released a mix-tape to coincide with her album's release that features a song entitled "F*** the Industry (Signed Sincerely)." Remember Solange is signed to the same label ran by Mathew Knowles, her father, and so happens to have Grammy-nominated Trin-I-Tee 5:7 and Brian C. Wilson on its roster. We seriously hope Sister Solange gets her act together...or else Daddy Knowles might have to put her in a time-out for punishment.

Solange Knowles Snaps at News Reporter!
Solange says she stands by her rant []
Solange Knowles hopes to emerge from Beyonce's shadow []
Knowles' second album too breathy, uninspired []
Solange performing "I Decided" on Today Show []
Solange performing "I Decided" on Tyra Banks []

Ike's Aftermath

Awakening to the start of a new week usually is viewed as a start of new beginnings. Most cases, it's the first day of the working week. A nice way of saying torture - can't wait for Friday. But for some...those that reside in the state of Texas, extra work will be required. Hurricane Ike - a reported Category 2 storm - ravaged the Gulf Coast this past weekend and brought damage to the states of Texas, Arkansas and parts of Louisiana.

According to reports from the Associated Press, over 2 million are left without power in the state of Texas and over 2,000 residents whom decided to wither the storm were rescued from disaster areas. The death toll from Ike rose to 28 confirmed, but many of those were far to the north of the Gulf Coast as the storm slogged across the nation's midsection.

Good news for those hunting for good gas prices. Oil prices shot down immediately as trade opened up on Monday due to minimal destruction and damage to U.S. oil installations. This weekend, gas prices were spiked to $5 a gallon with fears of heavy damage to come from the bunt of Hurricane Ike's fury. Still, some gas stations - especially with Houston residents rushing back into the city - are without fuel and are having serious problems meeting the demand.

Our prayers go out to the citizens of Houston, Galveston and surrounding communities and areas heavily affected by Ike. One of our well respected blogger buddies and industry resources - Keisha - webmaster of The Gospel Music Fill Up - is based and resides in Houston, Texas. We pray that she along with the many great citizens of the area are doing well and will recover from the Ike's aftermath.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Recovery Update: Rev. Timothy Wright

Two months ago, the gospel music industry learned of the unfortunate news that Rev. Timothy Wright, the beloved hymnwriter of modern gospel tunes "Who's On The Lord's Side," "Trouble Don't Last Always" and the artist behind the radio hit "Jesus Jesus Jesus," was involved in a July 4th tragic car accident while he and his family were heading home from a Church of God in Christ Auxiliaries convention in Detroit. They were struck by John Pick; a wrong-way drunken driver whom also died at the scene. Many were puzzled and caught off guard by the news and had the news media on their toes; gripping over the mere thought of Rev. Wright being silenced. Unfortunately, the accident claimed the lives of his wife Evangelist Betty Wright and their grandson, DJ Wright. With much prayer, Rev. Wright survived and began a series of surgeries and has since been transported to New Jersey's Keesler Institute, one of the nation's leading providers of comprehensive physical medicine and rehabilitation services, to undergo weeks of rehabilitation.

We have grown relentlessly silent and tranquil over the buzz surrounding Wright's important steps of progress to regain physical recovery. But the silence is being broken over two big public appearances from the well-beloved gospel icon.

On Tuesday, August 26, Wright made an appearance at a Brooklyn church where Donnie McClurkin, John P. Kee and Hezekiah Walker all greeted him with love and support.

On Saturday, September 6, more than 500 worshippers packed the Shiloh Baptist Church in Plainfield, New Jersey to raise funds for Wright's costly medical expenses. Rev. Wright only showed up for a brief period of time, according to reports, and was supported by a transport team from the Keesler Institute, including two nurses and one respiratory specialist. The crowd greeted Wright with shouting, weeping and soft prayers.

Special musical guests on program for the worship service included Wright's Concert Choir and the New York Fellowship Mass Choir (currently under the direction of David Wright), Alvin Darling & Celebration, Carlton Pope, the Shiloh Baptist Church Mass Choir and others.

The goal of the event was to raise $100,000 dollars. Of the donors and contributors, Alex Snipes and his chain of radio stations based in South Carolina impressed the crowd with their financial contribution to the family of $25,000.

According to Sheilah Belle of the Belle Report, the Grammy-nominated gospel singer is slowly recovering, but is making substantial progress. At one time, doctors said, Rev. Wright was paralyzed from the neck to the waist. However, Rev. Wright now has movement in his shoulders and upper arms.

This has been very agonizing for those that have been touched by the legacy and musical ministry of Rev. Wright. But with prayer and faith, we will get through this. In the words of Wright's illustrious 1989 gospel ballad..."with Jesus on our side, things will work out fine...we're gonna make it."

Donations made out to the Rev. Timothy Wright can be sent to the Timothy Wright Trust, 3399 Lawson Blvd., Oceanside, N.Y. 11572. Checks for more than $500 can be made out to the Kessler Institute with "For Rev. Timothy Wright" written in the memo line.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

PRAYZEHYMN Mastercards: Revisited #1

There's nothing like the classics. And in gospel music, finding classics can be a real pain. We will just leave it there. Reason why is because most of the classics haven't been repackaged, remastered, stored correctly and re-released to the immediate public - which leaves us with no other choice but to ramble through eBay to locate one man's junk. In the end, the treasure hunt usually is successful - especially with the help of other Internet stores (, and even mega record shops (Tower, Virgin). But when you find a valuable, a collectible or a compact disc of your favorite gospel records, the world becomes a better place.

About two years ago, we introduced the PRAYZEHYMN Mastercards series on; a section dedicated to essential gospel albums that many consider must-haves for gospel music lovers. The section ended up being a big hit on the site - drawing new legions of fans to the site to learn some history and background on their favorites. Since its introduction in 2006, PRAYZEHYMN Mastercards has thirty inclusions and will be growing with new entries later on this month as we celebrate fifteen more noteworthy projects.

And we can't wait.

But in the meantime, let us journey back for a second and reflect on the awesomeness of some of these timeless albums that have been previously reviewed. This time, we focus on the songs that made these albums such die-hard favorites. Just in time for GOSPEL MUSIC HERITAGE MONTH.

"For the Good of Them"
Rev. Milton Brunson & the Thompson Community Singers (Word/A&M)
from the album AVAILABLE TO YOU (1988)

A timeless classic never wears thin. And "For the Good of Them" - one of the super gospel ballads from the legendary Thompson Community Singers - is a primary example. Kim McFarland's delightful, youthful vocals are charmed with a zesty Chicago fire that ignites with great flames as the song floods into its harmonic chorus. The choir begins to enunciate the words using strong diction and perfect execution and brings home the lyrics. While robust across most parts of the song, the sweet closing minutes finds the choir looping the final words in mellow form. The song leans on the scriptural text found in Romans 8:28 and is beautifully shaped into a more contemporary fashion with the help of songwriter Darius Brooks.

God's Property
From the album FROM KIRK FRANKLIN'S NU NATION (B-Rite/Interscope)


Can you believe it's been over ten years ago that this album hit the shelves. From that album - even with "Stomp" controlling the R&B airwaves and songs like "More Than I Can Bear" - came a beautiful display of tender R&B and elegant contemporary gospel found in "Love." The closing minutes of the soft piano and whisper-like harmonies from God's Property are best remembered. There are definitely traces of quiet storm etched into the instrumentation, but it best resembles a 90s version of the mature lyrical content and musical nature of the Winans and Commissioned. But with an excellent choir leading the way.

"Respect Yourself"
The Staple Singers

Just the acoustic guitar on this crossover classic was enough to get down on. Decades since its release, this message song, done in the tradition of modern freedom songs of the late 60s, landed big on R&B and pop radio. It's not too preachy, but it gets the point across.

"If you’re walking round thinking that the world owes you something ‘cause you’re here/You’re going out the world backwards like you did when you first come here.”

The execution in Mavis Staples' gutsy vocals and Pop Staples' cool down-home bluesy deliveries solidified a type of greatness to this Staples' classic and endures as one of the very best, even matching up to Marvin Gaye's "What's Going On" and Curtis Mayfield's "(Don't Worry) If There's A Hell Below, We're All Going to Go." All people could relate to it - it wasn't a black or white thing. It was a social thing and the Staples - with their faith in God and their unapologetic roots in gospel - made sure they ceased their opportunity to present a gospel that all can say "amen" to. "Respect Yourself" has been covered by many pop acts including Johnnie Taylor, the Temptations, Etta James, Robert Palmer, Joe Cocker and even recorded by actor Bruce Willis at the height of his Moonlighting mania. But none come close to touching the authenticity of the original.

"For God So Loved the World"
Vanessa Bell Armstrong
from the album PEACE BE STILL (Onyx/Benson)

Currently celebrating forty-two years in the music business, Vanessa Bell Armstrong has had a long road filled with ups and downs. More ups probably. She started out performing with the legendary Dr. Mattie Moss Clark on a number of projects on Savoy with the Southwest Michigan State Choir. Doors would later open for the lyric singer to gain ground within the beloved Church of God in Christ denomination. But it took Thomas Whitfield, music extraordinaire, to get a hold of the talented singer and to thrust her out into the immediate public as a professional solo act.

"For God So Loved the World," a famed Lanny Wolfe song, became one of VBA's biggest covers throughout her career with her sophisticated Anita Baker vocal swoons and the flagship pop arrangement.

In the black gospel world, the song broke ground in Houston at the Gospel Music Workshop of America convention and was best illustrated with Cynthia Felder's warm soprano and infectious classical-like arpeggios piano works from Daniel Cason. This studio version added on to that fire and may have possibly surpassed the greatness of the GMWA classic. With Thomas Whitfield's magical fingers, Earl Wright's wise choice of synths and with its dreamy background vocals, the Armstrong version became an instant winner for gospel music lovers and created high hopes for a crossover R&B/pop career. Thank God she choose to remain faithful to her roots.

To read full album reviews of REVISITED #1 selected picks, click the following album covers.

PRAYZEHYMN Mastercards []
PRAYZEHYMN Mastercards: Graduation []

Thursday, September 04, 2008

September Is Gospel Music Heritage Month

In conjunction with the Gospel Music Channel (GMC), the United States Senate and Members of Congress approved earlier this year that September 2008 (just this year only) would be recognized as Gospel Music Heritage Month. The legislation acknowledges gospel's heroes, veterans and trailblazers - both young and old - for their valuable sacrifices towards a music genre that has impacted American culture and has been streamlined into many of today's music genres including pop, rock, soul, country, hip-hop, R&B and jazz.

The celebration kicks off on the Gospel Music Channel with world and network premieres, documentaries, original specials, music videos and many other highlights that will educate and enlighten viewers on the heritage of gospel music.

Some of the specials and presentations set to take place on the network include:
+ Mahalia Sings! - Featuring performance videos and exclusive footage of Mahalia Jackson; hosted by Gospel legend Dorothy Norwood [Sundays at 7:00 p.m.]
+ Documentaries focusing on the musical contributions of Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Al Green, the Dixie Hummingbirds and others
+ Faith & Fame series; biography details on Kirk Franklin, Amy Grant, Michael W. Smith, Steven Curtis Chapman, Walter Hawkins and others
+ 2008 BMI Trailblazer Awards - World television premiere
+ 2008 Stellar Awards re-broadcast
+ Bill Gaither & Dr. Bobby Jones specials

The celebration continues on online at; featuring exclusive performances, expanded interviews, program schedule listings, e-cards, facts, trivia, calendar of events and much more.

“This is the opportunity for the millions of Gospel/Christian music fans to have their own national month to honor and celebrate the rich heritage of their music," said Charles Humbard, Founder and President of Gospel Music Channel.

Gospel Music Heritage [Official Website]

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Niyoki's REST for the Weary


In 2006, D2G Records contemporary gospel and inspirational vocalist Niyoki (pronounced Nie-yo-kee), came on the gospel scene with her debut release, MY EVERYTHING. The project independently sold more than 15,000 copies, and spawned the hit single “He’s Here” (which ultimately reached the #8 position on Billboard’s Gospel chart and was named the 27th most-played gospel song of 2007 by the trade publication R&R (Radio and Records). Now she is back with her sophomore CD entitled REST which hit stores on August 19th via partnership with Executive Music Group and distribution by Fontana.

All 13 songs on REST were written and co-produced by Niyoki in collaboration with her four producers: Ralph B. Stacy (Mario, Dru Hill, Jagged Edge and K-Ci and JoJo); Antonio Neal (EMI Gospel recording artist and producer for Canton Jones, Darlene McCoy, and Kierra “Kiki” Sheard); and up-and-comers Floyd Thomas and Quintin X. Coleman. The first single, “Joy,” was shipped to radio in May, and is currently seated at the #40 on the BDS e-Chart.

Recorded while she was pregnant with her first child (Kedron Nero), REST is a solid collection of songs, each of which has a different sound and feel. REST crosses all musical genres to incorporate R&B, Jazz, rock and hip-hop all laced together with what Niyoki describes as “a central theme of hope and love for Jesus Christ.”

REST includes the beautiful and soothing “I Will Rest,” the high energy and driven single, “Joy,” the praise-filled “Where Would I Be?” and the earnestly prayerful “All That I Have.” These are just a few of the highlights featured on Niyoki’s new project which gives Niyoki a suitable platform on which to showcase the strength of her voice as well as her remarkable contralto-to-mezzo-soprano vocal range. “I was so much more comfortable with this project because I’d been there, done that,” said Niyoki who previously was part of the R&B group Milenia which Prince tapped to perform as his background vocalists. “I’m more settled in my thoughts, with my lyrics, and with what direction I wanted to go with the music. And more importantly, my relationship with God has evolved into a place of peace.”

To listen to JOY, the new single from her sophomore project, click here.

Niyoki Unplugged
Niyoki; Album Review of Rest []
Niyoki [Official Website]
Niyoki []
He's Here Music Video []

No VIBE for Tye Tribbett

Wow, if I had wrote this review, I probably would have been viewed as one of the biggest haters in the industry. But I like to be honest and real with my readers...and I'm so glad that their are outlets out there in the press that are fighting to make a change and difference with the freedom of speech. Linda Hobbs of VIBE Magazine recently wrote a very truthful album review of Tye Tribbett & G.A's pop-less recent release, StandOut, and critically breaks the album down better than I did.

"If those fossilized relics we call “albums” have been replaced by the live show, then the leaders of the new school ought to be gospel artists, who get a chance to practice their chops every Sunday. The boss of this genre is Tye Tribbett, a young, beanpole-looking belter who dances orgasmically and grins like a madman. But unlike his stylistic predecessor Kirk Franklin, Tribbett hasn’t gotten much shine around pop land. StandOUT, his third album for a major label—and his second live effort—offers strong evidence for why he’s failed to hit the stratosphere. Like so many live zealots, Tribbett struggles to translate his rapturous stage presence beyond the congregation."

On the title track, Tribbett and his choir, Greater Anointing, begin with a holy order: “It’s time for you to choose whose side you’re going to be on /...all we have to do is stand /…Rise up!” But even with the Anointing, Tribbett can’t transcend. Take “Let Us Worship”: It’s big, bombastic—and boring. There’s clatter, but no impact. And “I Made It Through” fails to merge the old with the new: Tambourines, a schizo brass free-for-all, and an ecstatic organ blare as the choir squeals, “He’s so faithful!” And yes, He is…if only we could feel Him."

Now if i used words like "boring," "schizo" and "beanpole" in a review, would I be destined to go to hell? Many of my readers tend to think so. But let's not revisit the past.

To read the VIBE album review online,
click here.


Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Gospel Fall Lineup 2008

As usual, plan to expect a drove of gospel album releases to hit retail this fall.

It seems like the gospel music industry prepares to toss out their very best releases, like Sweep's Week and Season Premieres hit the tube, during the fall. This year should be no exception.

The first project already getting major coverage and media support comes from John P. Kee and his beloved VIP Music and Arts Seminar convention. Live in Miami, featuring guest appearances from Earnest Pugh, Fred Hammond and LeJune Thompson, hits shelves nationwide on September 2. Expected radio favorites will be Kee and Lowell Pye's duet on "I'm Covered" and the infectious "Yes, We Can." Ain't it a strange coincidence that the song bears the same theme of Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama's campaign. The album will be released on Verity Records with distribution from Zomba.

On the same day, Verity plans to drop Revealed; the highly talked-about album release from Deitrick Haddon. In just two years, Haddon related projects including Tyscot's Together In Worship (2007) and Damita's No Looking Back (2008) . With production from Tim & Bob, Blaze, Baby Dubb Campbell and gospel veteran Percy Bady, Revealed will serve as the tenth album release from the hip-hop/urban gospel singer. And with mesmerizing cover art and photography, Haddon is bound to shake the industry with his blueprint of urban crossover gospel. The album, originally meant to drop August 19, will finally be released nationwide online and in retail stores on September 2.

Gospel's sweethearts Mary Mary will also reveal their latest musical experience - their fourth studio project - with The Sound. A follow up to their 2005 critically acclaimed effort Mary Mary, The Sound finds sisters Erica and Tina Campbell stretching their wings into realms rarely explored in gospel music. The disc melds the group’s love of truth-grounded gospel, mixed with patches of R&B, pop, soul, jazz, electronic/techno and then some. “We consider ourselves to be unpredictable,” Tina says. “We like to think that we’re innovative and original so you cannot figure out what our next move is and you can’t really define our ability or what you think the expectations are.” The lead single, "Get Up", has already been released to gospel and R&B radio and can be downloaded off of iTunes. The album - featuring production from Warryn "Baby Dubb" Campbell - officially drops on October 14 on the Columbia and Integrity Media music label.

Other noteworthy releases we will be sure to follow up on include:

September 16, 2008
Dottie Peoples
Do It

(DP Muzik Group)

September 23, 2008
Sean Simmonds
It's Over
(Xist Records/Tyscot)

September 30, 2008
Paul Porter
A New Day
(Light Records)

September 30, 2008
Terry Dexter
(Penny Gang's Records)

September 30, 2008
Take 6
The Standard
(Concord Music Group)

October 14, 2008

Stephen Hurd
Times of Refreshing

(Integrity Gospel)

October 28, 2008
Bishop Paul S. Morton & the Full Gospel Baptist Church Fellowship Mass Choir
Cry Your Last Year
(Light Records/Tehillah)

October 28, 2008
Kierra Sheard
Bold Right Life
(EMI Gospel)

New Releases (July - Dec 08)
Summer Sizzlers of 2008 [PRAYZE Report]
Word Products, released Fall Quarter [Word Distribution]