Kirk Franklin

The Nu Nation Project

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Kirk Franklin designed The Nu Nation Project as a revitalization of contemporary gospel, a way to bring it to an audience accustomed to the slick, funky innovations of hip-hop and rap. It's an ambitious project, and one that's not too far removed from his earlier records, simply because it finds him adding R&B production techniques and the occasional grandiose flourish, such as the cameos from R. Kelly, Mary J. Blige, and Bono on the admittedly stirring "Lean on Me." Occasionally, the album feels as if Franklin is pushing a bit too hard for the mainstream audience and all that entails (namely, superstardom for himself), but the end result is every bit as engaging as his previous records, thereby confirming his status as one of the true visionaries in '90s contemporary gospel.

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