There was a song that was released in 1982 that changed the way people listened to music. Society was at a crossroads of sorts at the time, and this song and its message made an impact. It was something fresh, a brand-new sound that hit hard both musically and lyrically. It gave a generation exactly what it needed at the time — a rallying call to action, a blueprint for how to navigate through those times.
The song was called, appropriately, "The Message." Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five's song, and the hip-hop genre, moved a generation.
Fast-forward to 2012, and gospel music — already known for being an inspirational and uplifting genre — is at the forefront with a new message for a generation at a crossroads of its own. With each release during this calendar year, gospel artists have seemingly gone out of their way to emphasize the need to take action, letting listeners know that praise and personal responsibility go hand in hand.
This point can be illustrated by album titles, from Tamela Mann's Best Days to VaShawn Mitchell's Created4This. Artists Larry Callahan and Le'Andria Johnson speak about The Evolution II and The Experience, respectively. It's Marvin Sapp saying I Win; Renee Spearman going from Whoa To Wow!; and Trip Lee testifying about The Good Life. All of these themes make it clear that a need for action is imminent.
The time to make things happen is now.
This sentiment is shared by veteran GRAMMY-winning duo Mary Mary, whose single "Go Get It" is a direct call to action. The sisters' almost frantic exhortation to "get yo blessing" and reminders that "it's your time" are meant to signal empowerment and the urgent need to seize the moment.
It's that message that places an exclamation point on gospel music's year — one that saw the genre make a sizable impact on society, both musically and lyrically.
Just like it did 30 years ago, it's a message that will hopefully move a generation.