Grammy Award-winning gospel artist Kirk Franklin is defending his appearance on blasphemous rapper Kanye West‘s seventh studio release, which is self-described as a “gospel album with a whole lot of cursing.”
As previously reported, a photo recently surfaced online showing Franklin, known for his songs “Now Behold the Lamb” and “Stomp,” with the profanity-laden West, alongside other secular artists such as Kid Cudi, Puff Daddy, 2 Chainz and French Montana.
West, who also goes by the name Yeezus and was featured on the cover of Rolling Stones wearing a crown of thorns, confirmed Franklin’s contribution to the project, which is tentatively entitled “The Life of Pedro.”
“When I was sitting in the studio with Kirk — Kirk Franklin — and we’re just going through it, I said, ‘This is a gospel album with a whole lot of cursing on it, but it’s still a gospel album,’” he stated in an interview with Big Boy Radio. “It’s the gospel according to Ye. It’s not exactly what happened in the Bible, but it’s this story idea of Mary Magdalene becoming Mary.”
West, who is married to Playboy cover model Kim Kardashian, the step-daughter of Bruce Jenner, is known for songs such as the lofty “I Am a God,” “Drunk and Hot Girls,” “Hold My Liquor” and “Jesus Walks.”
“I just talked to Jesus/He said, ‘What up Yeezus?’/ I said, “[Expletive], I’m chilling/Trying to stack these millions,” West raps in his song “I Am a God.” “I know He the Most High/But I am a close high/… I am a god.”
As previously reported, in 2013, West also raised eyebrows when he brought a man dressed as Jesus on stage during a show in Seattle.
“White Jesus, is that you?” he asked on stage. “Oh [expletive]!”
On Sunday, after concerns had been raised about Franklin’s appearance on West’s new album, he posted a photo of himself with West on Instagram along with a defense of his decision to work with the profane rapper.
“Kanye is not me. I am not him. He is my brother I am proud to do life with,” he wrote. “No sprints, but marathons; like most of us are on.”
Franklin then chastised those who believe that West is “not good enough” or “Christian enough” to be accepted by the Church.
“That is a dangerous message I believe we send to the world when our posture is they have to meet certain requirements before they are worthy to kiss the ring. It says people are not redeemable, forgivable or candidates for grace,” he stated. “That my friend is religious.”
The gospel artist vowed to stand by West, who he again asserted is his brother.
“I will not turn my back on my brother,” Franklin wrote. “I will love him, prayerfully grow with him however long he’ll have me, and however long the race takes. To a lot of my Christian family, I’m sorry he’s not good enough, Christian enough, or running at your pace — and as I read some of your comments, neither am I. That won’t stop me from running. Pray we win.”
Reaction to Franklin’s post was mixed as some stated that Franklin was only showing unconditional love to the rapper.
“Kirk, great job man! Some folk are so heavenly bound till they are no earthly good,” wrote one commenter named Aaron. “When will we truly comprehend God’s unconditional love and allow that love to work in us and through us to change the world.”
“Who are we to pass judgments? Who said Kirk himself don’t sin? Even the prisoners are better than some of you,” wrote another named Makasethu, who excoriated those who disagreed. “You guys are sick. Just get yourselves passports and go Heaven and leave us (sinners) of this earth alone.”
Others remarked that there is a difference between witnessing to a fellow musician and collaborating on a blasphemous album.
“Confusion at its best,” opined another named Tyrone. “Nobody said you can’t be his friend. Nobody said you can’t pray for the guy and show love to him. … But to appear on an album full of cussing and ungodly rhetoric in the hopes of winning someone is the equivalent of a pastor trying preach on a porn video.”
“If you believe that he is a brother, then why wouldn’t you evangelize him and share the gospel? And the gospel is what Kanye needs — along with God’s grace, mercy, love and salvation!” wrote a fourth commenter. “May God bless you with wisdom in how to love him like Christ, but not deny him what he truly needs: the law to convict him of his sins, and grace/love to cover the sins he has committed.”