Friday, August 28, 2009

Secular vs. Sacred Music Profiled on CNN

In light of an engaging conversation piece presented by PJ Morton's new book Why Can't I Sing About Love, decided to speak with the Grammy-award winning song writer and producer about his notable decision to sing love ballads. Surprisingly, the battle brews as CNN's TJ Holmes asks gospel recording artist Tye Tribbett about the idea of singing both gospel and R&B. Tribbett's response felt as if it leapt from the pages of a John Hagee camp meeting. In his own words, you simply can't do both.

It's a moving debate and has drawn up enough criticism on both avenues. Morton, the son of popular teleevangelist Pastor Paul S. Morton and also composer of gospel songs for Men of Standard and DeWayne Woods, is enjoyable a career working the indie soul circuit and aims to release mainstream R&B with substance and a message. Tribbett, who doesn't deny the "inspirationalism" of Morton's lyrics, feels it's impossible for a man "to serve two masters." Bold words there. Still, it's pretty weird for Tribbett to utter such an tough opinion when his music feels like it was inspired by the same R&B and soul geniuses that influenced Morton.

Watch the CNN report below.

Morton also rebuttals the argument at YouTube - in bible study fashion.

I was originally scheduled to interview PJ Morton earlier this month for but had to postpone it for a future date. I am currently working on a rescheduled opportunity. After the coverage on CNN, I kinda wished I didn't cancel it from the beginning. Stay tuned for more details and possibly an additional article on this subject.

[WHY CAN'T I...]
Why Can't I Sing About Love (Official Website)
PJ Morton's Response to Critics (YouTube)
PJ Morton (on Twitter)

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

J Moss Readies for New Album Drop

For a brief moment, record producer and gospel artist James Moss, who represents one-third of the hit-making production team PAJAM, experienced a career plunder in 2008 when news leaked about his marital infidelity. It became official when Lakisha Hughes, of Douglasville, GA, asked the courts for a paternity test resulting in J Moss being the child's father. To some observers, the hot press disappeared too quickly of the radar but many of Moss's supporters still felt the sting from the disappointing news. The new album, Just James, hopes to highlight some of those personal episodes and to offer up a spiritual voyage into the paths of reconciliation, forgiveness and repentance.

At the PRAYZEHYMN Message Board, members highlighted the uncomfortable sting of the public's disapproval of mega pop stars like Chris Brown and R. Kelly, but feel the gospel community, who are spiritually conditioned to forgive the sins of the past, will be able to transition themselves beyond Moss's shortcomings. "In a perfect world, we would say just let the man be 'cause we all have sinned and fallen short, expresses PRAYZEHYMN member Ashleigh D. "But the truth of the matter is we have a hard time accepting the message if we find fault with the messenger. If he wants people to buy his music and accept anything that he has to offer, he is gonna have to prove himself."

During a candid, transparent interview with, Moss explained that the leaking of the news was a vital part of the cleansing process. "For one, I didn’t want to leave that lifestyle because it felt good, said Moss. "And, you know, people say “affair” and they think it was some long-term thing. This wasn’t that. It was something that I got caught up in. But I wasn’t afflicted until it became public. So, I feel like it was GOOD that it came out like it did because had it not, I wouldn’t have been able to learn His statutes even better. I don’t think I would’ve stopped because I was enjoying what I had."

The new album, Just James, hit store shelves this Tuesday, August 25.

J Moss Interview (

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Birmingham Crooks Celebrated

On a (depressing) local level, Birmingham, Ala. and the citizens of Jefferson County are awaiting the sound of the trumpet that may just end some of its most recent public woes. Later this month, Mayor Larry P. Langford will face a jury with multiple counts of bribery and conspiracy as the long-awaited federal trial begins. Last year, the FBI made their arrest and broadcast their attempts to take the Birmingham mayor to court regarding a number of charges that include bribery. Two of the co-defendants in the trial, as we all expected, plead guilty to falsifying records. This quote comes from the Birmingham News regarding their dealings.

"The government alleges Langford used his influence to steer county financing business to Blount, resulting in Blount getting $7.1 million in fees. In return, prosecutors say, Blount showered Langford with $236,000 in cash, clothes and jewelry."

Their plea agreements represent the writing on the wall for the mayor's gloomy forecast for the future.

Wade Kwon, blog journalist and virtual buddy to the PRAYZE Report, has designed a nifty timeline of daily celebrations featuring Birmingham's biggest crooks for the entire month of August. Of the honorable mentions, former Healthsouth founder Richard Scrushy (whom once had a street named after him, thanks to Langford) is a no-brainer and lobbyist Al LaPierre, convicted last month, is a close buddy to Langford. Rev. Gregory L. Clarke, pastor of the New Hope Baptist Church, also made the list (yes, even pastors) for his conviction of filing false tax returns owing a total of $35,600 in back taxes. Kwon is saving Langford for the 31st. No surprise there since Langford, if convicted, will be the first mayor of the city ever to be removed from his honorable position. Just when Detroit's Kwame Kilpatrick reign of terror was just a figment of our imagination.

Birmnigham's Biggest Crooks [Wade on Birmingham]
31 crooks in 31 days? [Birmingham Weekly]
Blount expected to change plea [Birmingham News.]
Mister McCoy Can't Take the Heat [PRAYZE Report]
Check Your Pastor [PRAYZE Report]

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Earl Paulk's Former Church Sold

Reported in Charisma Magazine this week, the former mega church owned by the late Bishop Earl Paulk best known as the Cathedral of the Holy Spirit was sold for $17.6 million, according to CNL Speciality Real Estate in Orlando, Florida. The new tenants are Atlanta's Greater Traveler's Rest Baptist Church in Decatur, GA.

"We are happy to have brokered a successful outcome for a property of this size, especially in today's challenging economic climate," Matt Messier, broker and principal for CNL, said in a statement. The church campus houses a 6,000-seat main auditorium, a large fellowship hall, seven buildings, offices and a theater.

Paulk's legacy, reaching back to radical integration in the 1960s and "kingdom now" theology, drew over 10,000 members to the church during the 1990s. Gospel artists including John P. Kee, Richard Smallwood and James Bignon recorded successful gospel projects at Cathedral during its zenith. But prior to Paulk's passing, the church was in the controversial spotlight when a series of sexual misconduct allegations surfaced against him. Several women accused Paulk of leading them into sexual affairs while one victim alleged she was molested as a child.

D.E. Paulk, current pastor of the church and the son of the late predecessor, embraces universalism and "radically inclusive" teachings, which lead to the decline of most of its parishioners. Greater Traveler's Rest, a 6,000-member congregation, is pastored by E. Dewey Smith, Jr. and is also known in the Atlanta area for his dynamic music ministry and connections with the gospel community. The church has hosted live recording for the Chicago Mass Choir and Micah Stampley. Greater Traveler's Rest Church plans to host their first service in their new sanctuary on August 30.

For more details on this story, click here.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

JJ Hairston & YP Rocks the BET Stage

Promoting their upcoming album release Resting On His Promise, JJ Hairston and Youthful Praise worked their "Awesome God" magic on the BET set of Bobby Jones Gospel for their new season in Washington DC. The album, Resting On His Promise, hits stores September 1, 2009.

The cool back-to-school look, a bit synonymous to Tye Tribbett's Stand Out uniforms, looks cool on the choir. By the way, ain't JJ looking more and more like Common.

More photos from the BET set, featuring snaps with Vashawn Mitchell and Bishop Eric McDaniels, are below.