Kirk Franklin is the Puff Daddy of gospel. On Declaration (This Is It!), Franklin’s four-bar rap and sporadic ad libbed platitudes burn like holy water on a vampire’s face, while the band and choir carry the song on their backs like they were crucified with this music. The disc rises higher with the melody of the grandiose Little Boy and gets no less ornate or orchestral for the duration.
The quality of the audio production is so impressive that it could convincingly sell messages of Satanism, Scientology or Star Trekism: robust organs, grooving bass lines, righteous strings and swirling keyboards. And all praise is due to the supporting cast, from the backup singers to the session players. But it’s a sin to hear “Kirk’s gonna get his white boy on!” during the ungodly I Am God, a rock-inspired nightmare cursed with a chorus that sounds like a Linkin Park throwaway and the tritest segues heard in ages. This is proof that praising and/or proselytizing will always have a place, whether for a pimp or a preacher.