THE #MUSICSERMON INDEX

Looking for a specific #MusicSermon? Want to experience them in their original format instead of as a longform blog post? Our entire index is below, in chronological order of the sermons!


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.


WE DANCED HARD AS F*CK IN THE 90s

The inaugural #MusicSermon before it was called #MusicSermon; a look back at how hard we got it in — in everyhing — in the early 90s.


ALL HAIL THE QUEENS

Published July 30, 2017

In appreciation of the female pioneers of commercial hip hop: Queen Latifah, MC Late and Salt-N-Pepa.


Uptown, Uptown!

Published August 6, 2017

Celebrating the first urban lifestyle label.


CLASSIC R&B WAS PROBLEMATIC

Published August 14, 2017

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.


IN REMEMBRANCE OF MALE R&B GROUPS

Published August 21, 2017

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.


FOR THE COOL IN US: BABYFACE

Published August 28, 2017

A walk through the book of Kenneth. Paying homage to one of the best to ever do it.


IT TAKES TWO: R&B DUETS

Published September 5, 2017

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 JAM & TERRY LEWIS A-Z

Published September 2, 2017

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.


THE GOLDEN ERA OF HIP HOP/R&B COLLABS

Published September 10, 2017

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.


90s GAME CHANGERS

Published September 25, 2017

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.


The Unsung Female Voices of 80s R&B

Published October 2, 2017

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.


THE SOUL APOSTLES: The Male Voices of 80s R&B

Published October 9, 2017

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.


WHERE 2 OR MORE ARE GATHERED: GROUPS OF THE 70’s & 80’s PT I

Published October 16, 2017

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.


WHERE 2 OR MORE ARE GATHERED: GROUPS OF THE 70’s & 80’s PT II

Published Oct 16, 2017

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.


BEGGIN’ ASS R&B SONGS

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.


BLACK MOVIE MUSIC MOMENTS PT I

Published October 30, 2017

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.



REMEMBERING HEAVY

Published November 9, 2017

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.


AND LET HIM THAT IS ATHIRST, COME: HIP HOP & BEVERAGE ADS IN THE 90s

Published November 10, 2017

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.


The OTHER Female R&B Voices of the 90s

Published November 13, 2017

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.


The Soul Apostles Book II — The Male R&B Voices of the 90s (Pt 1 of 2)

Published November 20, 2017

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 THAT SLAPPED

Published November 27, 2017

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.


BYE, ASHY R&B: SONGS FOR WHEN THEIR SEASON IS OVER

Published December 4, 2017

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!


THE NEW (JACK SWING) TESTAMENT

Published December 11, 2017

New Jack Swing is the cornerstone of #MusicSermon. A full look at the origin and rise of NJS music and how it impacted culture.


COOKOUT APPLICANTS: A LOOK AT BLUE-EYED SOUL

Published December 18, 2017

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.


WATCHNIGHT SERVICE

Published December 24, 2017

#MusicSermon’s first annual holiday Watchnight Service: a look at great Christmas performances, and sing-offs of some Christmas classics.


YOUR PARENTS’ PARTY MUSIC

Published December 30, 2017

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.


AUNTIE DIVAS PT 1

Published January 8, 2018

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 TRIBUTE TO SADE

Published January 17, 2018

In honor of the mystical, illusive Sade Adu’s birthday, I take you through some of my favorite joints.


REBIRTH & RESURRECTION: COVERS VS ORIGINALS PT I

Published January 23, 2018

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.



GRAMMY MOMENTS

Published January 30, 2018

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.


IT’S RICK JAMES’ BIRTHDAY, BISH!

Published February 2, 2018

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.


JANET: THE EARLY CHAPTERS

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.


TAKE ME TO THE KING… OF R&B

Published February 6, 2018

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.


ADORATION R&B

Published February 12, 2018

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.


JUKE JOINT MUSIC

Published February 19, 2018

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.


Bubble Coats, Leathers, Polo Boots & Timbs: NY Boom Bap

Published February 24, 2018

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.


MOVEMENT MUSIC

Published February 26, 2018

In honor of Black History Month, we look at music that lifts our voices for the struggle, for liberation, for freedom: Movement Music.


OLD THINGS ARE PASSED AWAY…BUT THEN BECOME NEW

Published March 12, 2018

#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.


THE BOOKS of the NATIVE TONGUES

Published March 22, 2018

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.


TAKE UP YOUR TIMBRELS & DANCE: DISCO & BOOGIE MUSIC

Published March 26, 2018

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.


HERE COMES THE HAMMER

Published March 30, 2018

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.


THE PRODIGAL SON OF SOUL: MARVIN GAYE

Published April 3, 2018

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.


THE SCRIBES and ARCHITECTS: RODNEY JERKINS

Published April 8, 2018

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…


THE SCRIBES and ARCHITECTS: JERMAINE DUPRI

Published April 10, 2018

…and Atlanta’s unofficial cultural ambassador, Jermaine Dupri.


THE SCRIBES & ARCHITECTS: RAPHAEL SAADIQ

Published April 18, 2018

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.


HAPPY BIRTHDAY, LUTHER

Published April 21, 2018

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.


THE SCRIBES & ARCHITECTS: GAMBLE & HUFF

Published April 23, 2018

Continuing #MusicSeron’s series on great writers and producers, the two men largely responsible for Philadelphia Soul.


A RIDE THROUGH THE A: SOUTHERNPLAYlSTIC TURNS 24

Published April 28, 2018

A quick look at one of the most pivotal albums, moments and movements in hip hop.


THE SCRIBES & ARCHITECTS: ROD TEMPERTON

Published April 30, 2018

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.


PSALMS OF LIBATIONS aka SONGS ABOUT DRANK

Published May 6, 2018

In honor of Cinco De Drinko, a look at songs about drinking (which is different than songs to drink to).


HOW WE GOT OVER (MAMA, WE MADE IT!)

Published May 14, 2018

As graduation season kicks off, a musical journey through the college experience.

And in the playlist: songs of inspiration, triumph, fight and encouragement.


BIRTHDAY IN THE KEY OF STEVIE

Published May 15, 2018

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.


PROTECTED BY the RED the BLACK & the GREEN

Published May 22, 2018

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.


COOKOUT ESSENTIALS 2018

Published May 28, 2018

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.


HUSTLERS, GANG BANGERS and DOPE BOYS: Reality Hip Hop

Published Jun 4, 2018

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.


FAMILY LEGACIES: The DeBarges

Published Jun 11, 2018

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.


FAMILY LEGACIES: The Isleys

Published Jun 18, 2018

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.


FAMILY LEGACIES: The Sylvers

Published June 26, 2018

We wrap up our family legacies series with one of the most overlooked families in soul and pop.


THE SUPERFRIENDS: Missy Elliott PT I

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.

Published July 1, 2018

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.


MISSY ELLIOTT PT II

Published July 2, 2018

Her growth as an established creative force, plus influence on and development of other female artists


TIMBALAND PT I

Published July 16, 2018

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.


TIMBALAND PT II

Published July 23, 2018

Emerging from a deep depression after Aaliyah’s death, moving more into the pop space, and becoming a global superproducer.


THE PROPHETS & VISIONARIES: The Directors PT I

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.

Published Jul 30th, 2018

Bille Woodruff, Diane Martel, Little X (Director X) & Paul Hunter


The Directors PT II

Published Aug 1st, 2018

Chris Robinson, Bryan Barber & Dave Meyers



COMBS’ DISCIPLES: The Hitmen

Published Aug 12, 2018

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.

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