Kirk Franklin is transparent in his interview with Beats 1 studio on his long-standing relationship with Kanye West.
He emphasized his role in being a friend to Kanye first and foremost. It’s not about chasing records or gaining more clout, but about building real relationships, and making music magic when the time is right.
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Kanye is not me. I am not him. He is my brother I am proud to do life with. No sprints, but Marathons; like most of us are on. Before one song was released, I was crucified because my brother asked me to take a picture. Again "no Kanye, you're not good enough"? No. That is a dangerous message I believe we send to the world when our posture is they have to meet certain requirements before they are worthy to kiss the ring. It says people are not redeemable, forgivable or candidates for grace. That my friend is religious. I will not turn my back on my brother. I will love him, prayerfully grow with him. However long he'll have me, and however long the race takes. To a lot of my Christian family, I'm sorry he's not good enough, Christian enough, or running at your pace…and as I read some of your comments, neither am I. That won't stop me from running. Pray we win.
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Franklin and Kanye teamed up for the hit record Ultralight Beam in 2016. The song was a success and included gospel choir elements to it. Kanye’s famed Sunday service incorporates gospel and modern songs sung by a choir of over one hundred people. Celebrities and fans alike have flocked to hear the intricate soulful harmonies of famous gospel medleys, and contemporary music alike.
Kirk knows that Kanye is doing this for love and not money. “Let that be his medicine, he ain’t making no loot doing it,” Franklin shares. “You could always tell intent by how people spend their money. How people spend their money is a reflection of their heart. And so the fact that this is something that he’s doing on his own, let that be his medicine.” West openly has struggled with mental illness and Franklin attests to the healing powers of singing to God.
Erica Campbell from the gospel group Mary Mary also had something to add about famous singers infusing God in their music: “Let them start where they start and let God do the work. You can’t sing about Jesus too long without Him changing you. … Let ’em all do records! [Lady] Gaga, all y’all! Katy Perry, Nicki Minaj—do gospel records! Keep singing about Jesus, because when you call Him, He answers.”
People have stood in awe of how seamlessly Kanye West can integrate spirituality into his music. Kirk says that Kanye should “Keep singing about Jesus” because Jesus changes everything.” It’s evident that Kirk honors the brotherhood between both artists more than fame or money or making hits. A reminder that God is moving not just in the songs we sing, but in the relationships we have with one another every day. Kirk Franklin has a new expected album entitled Long, Live, Love, coming soon.