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During the 1990's you would not find a bigger Gospel artist than Kirk Franklin, Who fused Gospel harmonies with an R&B/Hip Hop vibe which gave the genre a whole new twist which changed the face of the genre for many other Gospel artists who since made the crossover into the mainstream. In 2007 Kirk Franklin released his tenth studio album after recording under his own name as well as "Nu Nation Project" and Kirk Franklin and the family. Here is my review of "The Fight of My Life"
**The Fight of My Life**
As mentioned in the introduction, this is the tenth studio album from Kirk Franklin and is one of his most personal albums of his career. The album features collaborations with Rance Allen and Isaac Carree, Tobymac, Donovan Evans, DA Truth and finally Doug Williams and Melvin Williams. The album features production from Kirk Franklin himself and James "Jazzy Jordan", Carla Williams and Jessie Hurst. The appearances don't stop there as two of the tracks feature guest composers in Michael McDonald and Kenny Loggins and Emmanual Lambert
1. "Intro" 0:25 Spoken word by Kirk Franklin
2. "Declaration (This is It)"
3. "Little Boy" (featuring Rance Allen and Isaac Carree)
4. "Help Me Believe"
5. "Hide Me"
6. "How It Used to Be"
7. "He Will Supply"
9. "I Am God" (featuring tobyMac)
10. "It Would Take All Day"
11. "A Whole Nation" (featuring Donovan Owens)
12. "Still in love"
13. "I Like Me" (featuring Da' T.R.U.T.H)
15. "Still (in Control)" (featuring Doug Williams and Melvin Williams
16. "The Last Jesus"
The short interlude from Kirk Franklin gets things off to a promising vibrant start. This leads into Declaration which is a decent track that hints at what is to come on the album and what he has to offer. Next up is the James Brown feel of "Little Boy" which features awesome vocals with collaborations from Rance Allen and Isaac Carree. This is a very vibrant track indeed with a great energy and extraordinary vocals. This track leads well into the next track which is "Help Me Believe" which slows the album down, This is a rare moment in Gospel where Kirk Franklin and the female vocalist question the existence of god when there are so many things wrong in the world. This is a really great track with beautiful backing vocals which build well during the song. Next up is "Hide Me" which is a soulful track about when you want somebody to back you up and help you through tough times. Very good track and a nice sound.
"How it used to be" changes the mood with a slower track which sounds a little like something R Kelly would compose. This is a great track with some beautiful keyboard sounds and the emotive Gospel choir really adds a nice touch to track. As the track moves along the tempo builds and just gets better and better. Brilliant stuff. "He Will Supply" This sounds like a Gospel vocal jam session with just piano and the vocals. This is a really impressive indication of the vocal talents of the Gospel choir. "Jesus" is an interesting mix of Gospel choir and a taut beat which works rather well indeed. A very flowing track. "I Am God" is the most surprising track on the album, it features rock singer Toby Mac over a Metal guitar sound which gets more rock tinged as the track moves along. This fuses the two different styles together superbly well. Brilliant idea. "It would take all day" is one of the most emotive tracks musically you are likely to hear from Kirk Franklin. This is a really beautiful track which is up there with the best on the album.
"A Whole Nation" has a live sound with Kirk Franklin introducing an 11 year old singer called Young Donovan who actually provides a very good vocal which is flowing and emotive. This is a brilliant track that works so well. "Still in Love" is another R Kelly like track which would fit well with his Happy People disc. This is an up-tempo track with some great hooks. Next we have "I Like Me" which has a pounding drum beat that is a real test for your system and may make you jump the first time you hear it. The bass beat is a brilliant feature of this track. "Chains" is one of my favourite tracks on the album and opens with a beautiful piano piece backed by the orchestra, At 7 mins 28 seconds this is the longest track on the album but it is not too long at all. "Still in Control" is up next and this is a collaboration with Doug and Melvin Williams. The beat is similar to R Kelly again and this is another fantastic track which is about getting over things that have tested you in the past and staying strong. "The Last Jesus" closes the album and this is another very impressive track and makes a great closer for this album as it shows what the album is about, Great music and getting over obstacles in your life. Brilliant ending.
Sixteen tracks and nearly 80 minutes long, that may be far too much for some people to sit down and listen to in one but if you really love music as much as I do then you may just be able to go even further on one album. There are some outstanding tracks on this album and there's not one that I have to skip through because I don't like it, I do skip sometimes to get to one I want to listen to but that's not a mark on the other tracks. Now that's three albums that Kirk Franklin has managed to crossover successfully from Gospel to the mainstream. First there was "Nu Nation Project", then "Hero" and now "The fight of my life" so in closing If you like this album as much as I do then you really have to check out those other two albums as they are just as amazing as this one.
Disc #1 Tracklisting
2 Declaration (This Is It)
3 Little Boy
4 Help Me Believe
5 Hide Me
6 How It Used To Be
7 He Will Supply
9 I Am God
10 It Would Take All Day
11 A Whole Nation
12 Still In Love
13 I Like Me
15 Still (In Control)
16 The Last Jesus