THE #MUSICSERMON HYMNALS
Great churches have a strong Music Ministry, and ours is no different. There’s a playlist to accompany almost every Sermon & Devotional. Links below to the Spotify and Apple Music profiles.
The inaugural #MusicSermon before it was called #MusicSermon; a look back at how hard we got it in — in everyhing — in the early 90s.
In appreciation of the female pioneers of commercial hip hop: Queen Latifah, MC Late and Salt-N-Pepa.
Celebrating the first urban lifestyle label.
We like to say that current r&b has gone astray, but you might be surprised if you revisit the lyrics of the classic r&b we loved in the 80s and 90s.
The early 00s was the beginning of the end of male r&b groups, but up to that point, they’d been prevelant throughout every era of soul music. A look at the last great era: the 90s.
A walk through the book of Kenneth. Paying homage to one of the best to ever do it.
While “collaborations” and features are still prevelant in modern music, the true r&b duet is a rare sighting (hearing?). We remember some of the greats.
Jimmy and Terry are more than just Janet Jackson catalogue. So many of your favorite 80s and 90s r&b jams that weren’t written/produced by LA & Babyface were handled by these two. We walk through the Flytime text from A-Z.
When hip hop and r&b collabs first became the norm, each genere brought a distinct element to the track. Now, you can’t always tell whose the artist and whose the feature, but we remember some of the greatest collaborations from the Golden Age.
Inspired by the VH1 Hip Hop Honors’ tribute to 90s Game Changers, we offered #MusicSermon’s version. A look at the music and cultural moments that literally changed the game moving forward.
Man (and music) did not live on Whitney and Janet alone. The r&b in the 80s was still a broad and deep genre, and we look at voices that have now been somewhat forgotten, and at the evolution in sound and style towards the end of the era.
As there are female voices forgotten in conversations about 80s r&b, male voices from the 80s are hardly discussed at all. We show the boys some love.
The first half of a very long look at the funk, soul, and r&b groups of the 70s and 80s, following the transitions in sound, substance and style.
The second half of a very long look at the funk, soul, and r&b groups of the 70s and 80s, following the transitions in sound, substance and style.
Remember a time when there was no pride in r&b? When trying to get your lover to stay/come back/forgive you by whatever means necessary was par for the course? When you had beggin’ ass love songs? That part.
We’ve had some outstanding black movie soutrack moments and eras, but there are so many various ways music has been incorporated into some of our favorite films over the years. The first half of oour look at these moments.
The crown prince of Uptown; a pioneer of party hip hop; big sexy before Big and Pun; big brother to many; loved by all; greatly underapprecited. A tribute to the Bum-Diddly.
In the early — mid 90s, two beverage companies launched iconic campaigns with hip hop artists to reach the urban fanbase. Mixtapes, cartoons, rap battles, real production. A look at Sprite & St Ides’ legendary runs.
Because man and music did not live on Whitney, Janet, OR Mariah alone. Remembering the girl groups and the r&b variety of the 90s.
There were more male voices in 90s r&b than you could shake a microphone stand at. In addition to the male r&b groups we discussed in an earlier sermon, there were singers of just about every ilk and style you could want. In 2 parts.
TV theme songs used to be full compositions, with hooks, bridges, star producers and vocalists. Some of them even ended up being radio hits! But which theme song slapped the hardest? A review.
People come in your life for a reason, a season or a lifetime, and this is the soundtrack for when that reason or season is up, for whatever reason. Bye!
New Jack Swing is the cornerstone of #MusicSermon. A full look at the origin and rise of NJS music and how it impacted culture.
When someone non-black over-indexes on the soul meter, there’s a joke that they’re “invited to the (black family) cookout” [although said joke has fallen out of favor of late as there were cookout invites being too freely given]. We look a potential cookout attendees, ie Blue-eyed Soul artists.
#MusicSermon’s first annual holiday Watchnight Service: a look at great Christmas performances, and sing-offs of some Christmas classics.
In preparation for New Year’s Eve, we paid homage to our elders by jamming to their jams, many of which we’ve adopted after years of hearing our parents, aunties, uncles and friends get it in to them.
This sermon was inspired by a twitter thread about Aretha vs…everybody. But where Aretha and her contemporaries are unique is in their staying power over decades of a changing and evolving music business, and mainting success for longer than most contemporary artists could even imagine. PT I covers Aretha, Dionne, Patti and Gladys. PT II, below, is Diana, Tina and Natalie.
In honor of the mystical, illusive Sade Adu’s birthday, I take you through some of my favorite joints.
Music operates in cycles. What’s old makes it’s way back around in time. In some cases, it’s even better the second time around. We look at some of the best and most notable remakes, plus some samples that are damn near remakes.
The Grammy’s are #MusicSermon’s version of Easter. We celebrated by reviewing some great black music moments over the years, from live performances to wins.
There’s an entire generation that only knows Rick James through Dave Chappelle. The clincher is, Dave’s Rick doesn’t even touch Rick’s full height of outrageousness. Rick’s climb from AWOL navyman all the way to kidnapping charges late in his life, and all the funk in between.
For Janet Jackson Appreciation Day, we followed the precocious and adorable little tyke who played a mean Mae West on stage with her brother through her years of self discovery as an artist, until she emerged as the Janet we know today with her self-titled album.
Without Bobby there would be no Jodeci, no Usher, no Chris Brown, no Tre Songz… Bobby was and is the KANG! Even his wife said so (how do you think he pulled her in the first place?). A look at the greatness that is Robert Barisford Brown in honor of his birthday.
Over time we’ve talked about adultery r&b, begging r&b, and even get-the-hell-out-my-life r&b. For Valentine’s Day, we talked about the r&b that announces, reflects and celebrates LOVE in its purest forms.
Classic r&b may have been problematic, but it ain’t have nothin’ on the blues. Especially not that special sub-genre of blues that plays in the hole in the wall, may or may not have a liquor license, jumps from Thursday night to Monday morning spots: the juke joints.
Let’s go to NY circa 1993, to a very specific niche era of hip hop. Head nod music. On the block music. Roll that sh*t, light that sh*t, smoke it music. Stick up kid music. Peace to the Gods and the Earths music. Dun music. Grimey Rap. Jeep muisc. NYC music. Boom Bap.
In honor of Black History Month, we look at music that lifts our voices for the struggle, for liberation, for freedom: Movement Music.
#MusicSermon breaks its #B2K rule to discuss neo soul, music’s response to and progression from the hip hop soul era. Areturn to live instrumentation and reinterpretation of classic soul sound, plus Philly’s reemergence as the soul music capital.
In the same spirit of our Devotional on Boom Bap, a look at a very specific era and space in hip hop music. One of the dopest and most influential collectives the game has known.
Disco is now the stepchild of music eras, but it has a bad rap. It wasn’t all just cheesy dance music. It had elements of funk & soul, had grand production, big voices, and we still embrace more of it than we realize.
Hammer’s crossover success made him a hip hop punchline, but he was the first rap artist to break the mainstream commercial barrier in a real way. He opened the door, for better or worse, for hip hop to become the dominant music genre. He also put on one of the livest stage shows you could ever hope to see. For his birthday, we look at his rise, and fall.
To mark the anniversaries of Marvin’s death and life, a look at his evolution as an artist, and the pain that went along with it.
For the month of April, #MusicSermon examined the genius behind the board: the writers and producers. Starting with two of the architects of 90s sound: Rodney “Darkchild” Jerkins…
…and Atlanta’s unofficial cultural ambassador, Jermaine Dupri.
For 30 years, Ray Ray Saadiq has quietly been one of the most consistent singer/ songwriter/producers in the game. A look at the stuff you know, and the stuff you don’t.
Luther Ronzoni Vandross is heralded in certain circles, yes, but largely underrated in conversations about great vocalists of our time. But he’s on every major Greatest Voices list for a reason. On his birthday, a quick Devotional of key Luther facts and moments.
Continuing #MusicSeron’s series on great writers and producers, the two men largely responsible for Philadelphia Soul.
A quick look at one of the most pivotal albums, moments and movements in hip hop.
Wrapping up #MusicSermon’s writer/producer series, music’s Invisible Man. Your favorite writer/producer who you didn’t know was your favorite writer/producer.
In honor of Cinco De Drinko, a look at songs about drinking (which is different than songs to drink to).
A full Steveland Morris sermon would be more like a revival, but on his birthday, we talked about a couple of the many areas of his mastery: covers and ballads.
In the 90s Game Changers sermon, we touched on “the red, black and green,” i.e. the hybrid of afrocentric, black nationalist and islamic movements in hip hop and culture. We look at the foundations of Political hip hop over the course of two sermons, starting with Conscious hip hop.
SUMMER IS HERE! It is the season of breaking bread, turning water into wine, and feeding the masses with (fried) fish and loaves. In honor of function season, a review of the required elements of the #cookout soundtrack.
Continuing our series on the foundations of Political hip hop, we talk about the street’s version of the news report. Gangsta rap, or reality hip hop, has the reputation of being conscious rap’s wayward little sibling, but in actuality they’re twins. Different sides of the same musical coin.
For #BlackMusicMonth, we celebrate the families in soul music not named Jackson or Winans, staring with one of the most talented families in r&b, the Debarges.
We continue our look at family legacies with the family that has one of — if not THE — longest running career in soul music, the Isleys.
We wrap up our family legacies series with one of the most overlooked families in soul and pop.
The story of Missy Elliott & Timbaland isn’t just the story of Missy Elliott and Timbaland. It’s also the story of artists, writers and producers signed to Devante Swing’s Swing Mob label, and the offshoot of surviviors that became known as The Superfriends music collective.
From meeting Tim in VA, through Swing Mob with her girls group, to her putting her stamp on the game as a writer/producer before she got her own solo deal.
Her growth as an established creative force, plus influence on and development of other female artists
From Missy bringing him along when she got put on, through trauma and abuse in Da Bassment, to “Pony” defining a new sound, and he & Missy getting the shot of a lifetime with Aaliyah.
Emerging from a deep depression after Aaliyah’s death, moving more into the pop space, and becoming a global superproducer.
While #MusicSermon maintains our #B2K (Before 2000) doctrine, videos hit their creative stride from the mid-late 90s through the early 00s. We celebrated the best and most impactful of the era.
Bille Woodruff, Diane Martel, Little X (Director X) & Paul Hunter
Chris Robinson, Bryan Barber & Dave Meyers
Bad Boy’s in-house production team created the sounds that dominated the airwaves in the 90s, with a white hot streak around 96–98. People usually reference their glossy, sample-heavy hits, but the Hitmen were more than just 80s pop samples. We take a look at some of the original and most impactful team members.
Now we mostly hate-watch the MTV VMAs, or just tune in so we can follow the converstaion on twitter. But there was a time when the VMAs were highly anticipated appointment viewing, and not just becasue we were younger (no, really, this isn’t all just get-off-my-lawn’ing). We remember when the VMAs were live.
Tevin Campbell found himself thrust back into the culture zeitgeist suddenly and unexpectedly as a very round-about result of Auntie Re’s death. Nostalgia was on 100. We give him his props.
We launch our sermon series on the formative hip-hop MCs with two considered the greatest of all time.
For the second installment in our Golden Era Emcees series, we look at the SELF-proclaimed GOAT.
Starting with his first decade…
…and rounding out the height of his music career, which ran into the mid-2000s, something none of his immediate peers managed to do.