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The Fight of My Life

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Album Review

In the mid-2000s, fans, critics and the Recording Academy couldn't heap enough praise on Kanye West's brilliant, visionary fusion of rap/hip-hop with classic pop textures. But long before West was dominating the pop scene, Kirk Franklin was bringing this same type of cross-genre genius to the gospel world. While he was something of a breakout superstar of his genre in the '90s, he also was creating amazing faith based projects well into the 2000s. Beginning with a boxing ring bell and running close to 80 minutes over 16 tracks, The Fight of My Life packs a multi-faceted emotional punch that might challenge fans of only feel-good, happy expressions of "God is Great, all the time" type songs. Exulting in shouts, interjections, and his trademark talk-rap style over an exuberant female choir, bright orchestrations, and edgy scratches, Franklin uses a brilliant reworking of the Kenny Loggins-Michael McDonald lite pop classic "This Is It" to fashion his upfront statement of faith "Declaration (This Is It)." Through this track, he attributes his ability to come through all his trials to the Almighty's grace, but later, he (or rather, his female entourage) reflects refreshingly on his doubts on the gorgeous, heartfelt ballad "Help Me Believe." Then comes "Hide Me," in which he feels lost in life; while not understanding God's ways, he seeks shelter to help his faith grow. More than simply, wonderfully honest, ultra-hip gospel, this is modern-day Psalming at its best. Blending grooves, horn textures, choir textures and in your face rap, the fight constantly balances trust ("He Will Supply," "Jesus") with the darker issues confronting the idea of maintaining faith in a difficult world. The angry, blistering rock guitar driving "I Am God" underscores the tension of wanting to break free while God keeps pursuing and asking for our trust; this track breaks the typical Franklin mold and sounds more like crackling, anthemic Christian rock. The message is always the artist's focus, but with so many tracks, the stylistic diversity (from buoyant, atmospheric '70s disco on "Still in Love" to the tribal African vibe of "I Like Me" and the torchy ballad "Chains") makes the disc a soul-stirring blast from start to finish. This is one fight that will leave the listener smiling through the bruises. All contemporary gospel should be this musically joyful and lyrically raw and honest.

Customer Reviews

Excellence

Kirk, I was in Chicago on the Dan Ryan expressway when I first heard Stomp. When on Stomp you said "Lately I've been going through some things that really got me down"; I could concur with that sincerely that time in my life. But hearing you were going through made me not feel so weird, then you ministered about Jesus to me on the same song and how he could turn things around for me. Kirk, I was fresh out of college, and had been to church most of my life, but then and there is when I began to spiritually mature! Album after album accompanied more maturity in my growth in faith. I am thankful you followed your gift, and as for me; in part thanks to you I have followed my gifts, and am experiencing great success in my spritual life, family and my career! God Bless you, and Brother I love you!!!!!

Gold Standard

Let me be real...Ok, Kirk is the ONLY Gospel artist today that continues to change the game on every project. He understands what it means to reinvent himself as an artist. If you are an up in coming artist, you definitely need to study the music of Kirk Franklin. As for this album, it doesn't really matter how good it is, because it is so far beyond what other artist are doing. For those that still want to hate on this brother, I would love to hear your music collection. The man IS the GREATEST artist that Gospel Music has ever seen. Love you Kirk, don't stop the music. J. Shep

He's winning this fight...

Kirk done did it again...He keeps on transcending gospel levels and giving to the people, saved and soon-to-be-saved can appreciate this one. I appreciated his appearance on BET's 106 & Park, debuting his video for the single "Declaration" (the video is craaaazy); he's doing things that some of the saints wouldn't approve, but you have to believe that shedding a little bit of God to 106 blessed at least one youngin' that day. With this album, you get a lil' bit of everything: a song to step to ('I Like Me' - T.R.U.T.H. made a long-awaited cameo), a song to mime to ('Chains'), a song to worship to ('He Will Supply', 'Help Me Believe'), a song to scream for help to ('Hide Me'), a song to chill to ('How it Used to Be') and a call to excellence with 'The Last Jesus'. Kirk, you get ***** 5 stars from me, from doing what you do, giving me a soundtrack to the fight of 'my' life! Stay blessed, big brotha in Christ...

Biography

Born: January 26, 1970 in Fort Worth, TX

Genre: Christian & Gospel

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

Since his debut, 1993's Kirk Franklin & the Family, Kirk Franklin has been one of the brightest stars in contemporary gospel music. The album spent 100 weeks on the gospel charts (some of those on top), crossed over to the R&B charts, and became the first gospel debut album to go platinum. His second album, Kirk Franklin & the Family Christmas, became the genre's first Christmas album to make it to number one, and his 1996 album Whatcha Lookin' 4 went gold as soon as it was distributed....
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The Fight of My Life, Kirk Franklin
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