Everything you wear people say they got have it.
From the sweat suit to the white tee to the Gucci,
You can probably say people wanna get like me.
Can you believe the lyrics above are from a Gospel song?
A few weeks ago, I was talking to one of my friends about the Gospel group Mary Mary and their new song “It’s The God In Me.” If you’re not familiar with it,
click here. I’m all for praising the Lord and everything, but I feel like they’ve taken it too far, with the lyrics, the beat, and the image that they are portraying. I’ll admit their song “Shackles” was one of my favorite contemporary gospel songs of the recent years, but this new song has crossed the line.
I know some people will not agree with this post and say as long as you’re singing, rapping, dancing for the Lord that’s all that matters. But I would have to kindly disagree. I understand Mary Mary is trying to reach a younger audience but I feel like they’ve sold out with this one. I haven’t heard all of the CD that features the song, but the debut song speaks for itself.
When I first heard the song on the radio I liked the beat and started to dance to it a little in the car. It wasn’t until I heard it a few more times that I even realized it was gospel. I don’t expect to hear words/phrases like “whip” (a car) “You think I’m so fresh, you think I’m so clean” (taken from Outkast late-90s). I don’t hear it during Sunday Morning Joy on the radio between Hezekiah Walker, Tye Tribbett, or Shirley Caesar. The problem lies in the fact, it’s been played in heavy rotation between Lil Wayne, Jay-Z, and Kanye. I’m sure the average person doesn’t even realize it’s gospel until they hear the chorus, if they even listen hard enough.
I’m afraid people are not hearing and absorbing the message because they only hear the beat and lyrics like the ones above. Yes, it does have a really good beat, the kind that makes you want to get up and shake your booty to. But that would be highly inappropriate to be gyrating to Gospel. In fact when I was looking on YouTube to post a link to the remix of the song featuring Ne-Yo (I’ll talk about that later), I came across a video called “Shake Your Ass for God”. I watched it for 5 seconds and all you saw were girls with short skirts/shorts dancing in front of a camera shaking their behinds. Although, it was blasphemous and I wanted to be disgusted, it’s hard to take issue with it because that’s exactly what the song makes you want to do.
Whenever I hear it come on, I instantly relive my club days and think about the dancing we would do to a song with a beat like that. I have to force myself to remember it’s gospel and usually just end up changing the station. That song doesn’t make me want to throw my head back and lift my hands in anointing praise. It just doesn’t.
So the last straw was when I heard there was now an “It’s the God in Me Remix” featuring Ne-Yo. Seriously? Don’t get me wrong, I like Ne-Yo, but all he knows all about singing love ballads to women not the Lord. The song is already secular enough with the lyrics and the beat, adding a secular artist to the mix did not help.
I understand Mary Mary’s need to connect with a younger audience but I think the essence of what they are singing about is getting lost. It’s hard to appreciate a song that’s giving a shout-out to God for all He’s done, when there’s so much already going on with the song. I really wish they’d stick with their genre. They need to go back to what they are known for being which is an upbeat Gospel duo with songs that inspire people young and old, and not focus on trying to make themselves aligned with the secular world. When I listen to gospel I’m listening for a meaningful message, not a tight beat that makes me want to, in the immortal words of Mystikal, “shake it fast, show’ em what you’re working with.”