Marvin Sapp: the best Gospel CD of 2010

It’s official. Marvin Sapp is now one of the top 10 names in Gospel music. That means when you mention Kirk Franklin, Donnie McClurkin, Mary Mary and Yolanda Adams, then you’ll mention Marvin Sapp in the same breath. Sapp’s latest project, “Here I Am,” did something really, really rare: it debuted at #2 on the Billboard charts. Gospel releases usually don’t do that well! Marvin Sapp obviously gained a lot of fans from his previous release, which featured the mgea-mega hit, “Never Would Have Made It.” People must have liked that song so much that they were like, “We’ve got to get the new release now.” And they sure did!

Marvin_SappSo, is “Here I Am” just a fluke of a hit? Are people just buying it based on Sapp’s past efforts or is this new CD the kind that can stand alone on its own as a Gospel music masterpiece? Nope. Marvin Sapp’s “Here I Am” is one of the best Gospel albums in a looong time. It’s the kind we don’t even hesitate in recommending you buy. has named Marvin Sapp’s “Here I Am” the best Gospel CD of 2010!

“I Came” starts the disc off right, with a really cool vocal riff that then breaks into a groove that could get even the most depressed person at church on their feet and praisin’ the Lord. Sapp’s voice really shines on “I Came.” If you like Fred Hammond and Byron Cage, Sapp’s voice is like a combo of those two. He can take it down low, and do some vocal acrobatics when he needs to. He gives his voice a great workout, and “takes it there” on this new disc.

Longtime fans, who remember Marvin Sapp from his days with the group Commissioned during the 1990s, also know that he’s the founder and Senior Pastor of Lighthouse Full Life Center Church in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Because he’s been around a while, and is also a pastor, Marvin Sapp brings all that experience and seasoning to his music career, which has really exploded since 2007.

On “Here I Am,” he manages to combine an old-fashioned Pentecostal Church sensibility with modern R&B grooves and uplifting lyrics speaking directly to the many people in America today who are hurting because of job loss, sickness, and all the other things we’re going through, as evident in songs like “Keep Holding On” and “Don’t Count Me Out.”

The most musically adventurous track on “Here I Am” is “Praise You Forever.” Imagine if the intricate piano riffs-and-pounding drums of Coldplay morphed into a black Gospel act with vocals reminding you of digitally-altered Chris Brown and a mellower sounding Israel Houghton and that’s what you’ve got with “Praise You Forever.”

“The Best In Me,” already a #1 Gospel chart hit, is a song on the album people can totally claim for themselves, when Marvin Sapp repeatedly sings, “He saw the best in me when everyone else around me could only see the worst in me.” A lot of people will raise their hands in the air for that one! Undoubtedly, “The Best In Me” will become a church song staple in the years to come. The title track is in that same vein, where you’ll proclaim for yourself, “I’m still standing, after all I’ve been through.” “Here I Am” along with “The Best In Me” are the logical follow-ups, lyrically and musically, to “Never Would Have Made It.”

Recorded live, the album involved a lot of creative people who are well-known in Gospel music, including Myron Butler (director of backing vocals); James “Jazzy” Jordan (executive producer); and Aaron Lindsey (producer). You sense this album was made with a lot of love and prayer. –Christian Music Makers


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Mark Weber

Mark Weber publishes the MarkWeberMusicBlog.

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