Tye Tribbett and G.A.
energy, and it's right on gospel's stylistic forward edge.
A twin dynamic is at work in black gospel music. One direction of this dynamic is shared with the white religious tradition and was articulated by an English minister, Rowland Hill (1744-1833). His formulation was so concise and elegant that it was soon misattributed to Martin Luther: "Why should the devil have all the good tunes?" he asked. Contemporary Christian music on both sides of the racial divide pursues secular models, often at a distance of mere months.
Tribbett has been listening to music from two secular sources. One is the phenomenally popular hip-hop group Outkast, whose ambitious albums draw on a wide variety of R&B and pop styles, bringing them together into semidramatic presentations. The other is the sexy, full-throated kind of song called neosoul, which is particularly popular in the Philadelphia area, Tribbett's home. There are a lot of James Brown moves in Tribbett's vocals, bulked up in the music with thicker, more electronic modern beats. Tribbett is a follower of gospel megastar Kirk Franklin, a pioneer in incorporating hip-hop and contemporary R&B into gospel, but his range of styles is even wider. "Hallelujah to Your Name" opens with a pennywhistle (or a keyboard's approximation of one), not a common instrument in gospel, and broadens out into a big Riverdance-style chorus.