I Luh God proclaims Erica Campbell, known as one half of Gospel singing duo Mary Mary. She has stirred up quite a bit of attention with her new song, I Luh God, described as “Trap Gospel.” Trap music first originated in the Southern USA (aka “The Dirty South,” as many rappers like to call it) in the 1990s, with an 808 kick drum or heavy extended sub-bass lines, along with an overall aggressive beat/sound. In other words, it’s the last thing you’d expect a Gospel singer to be doing– especially a female one who makes her living catering to the church crowd with her other big solo song, “I Need Just A Little More Jesus,” a very traditional hand clappin’, foot stompin’ churchy tune.
Erica Campbell is seen regularly on TV on the WE channel’s Mary Mary reality show. Having watched this show, I can tell you it’s almost a little too real. You get to see what her life is like, including the good, the bad and the ugly. Lately, Campbell has been trying to build ‘the Erica Campbell brand,’ as she and her husband, producer Warryn of My Block Records, will often say on camera. With a song like “I Luh God,” as part of a re-release of her solo debut, quite a few on the Internet are saying what many are thinking: Warryn wants to make money selling records– thus adding this unusual song for his wife, which will definitely introduce her to a different crowd, and, in theory, sell more records and build the Erica Campbell brand.
Thing is, “Mary Mary,” which is, essentially, Erica, Warryn and Erica’s sister Tina, has always been about having one foot in the black church world and the other in the mainstream, secular, drug-using, 40-ounce drinking, party at ‘da club’ world. The Mary Mary debut was “Shackles,” which was a Gospel song that did well in dance clubs. Like Kirk Franklin around the same time, Mary Mary took the Gospel to the world using beats/a style that the world could “get.” Did this cause churchy folks to give them the side eye? Oh yeah, you better believe it. And they’re STILL doing it– just read the comments on some of the YouTube videos for I Luh God.
Here are some:
“Grown woman talking bout I luh God, you talking to the creator, everlasting father, alpha and omega and you saying Luh, and rapping like you some ghetto uneducated rapper, this is not Gospel, its trash, garbage unholy ungodly music.”
“yess agree..#epicfail…just too grown for this messs….leave this for the teeny boppers..don’t try 2 do too much until your run out…changing your standards for foolishness…”
“My 16 year old just listened to this and she said it’s a HOT MESS….MRS ERICA IS TOO OLD FOR THIS MESS. SAVE IT For Home gatherings and having fun with your family. Smh.”
“Booooooooo!!!!! What is luh?? No, baby, no. If a person can dance off of your song in the club and feel no conviction then something is wrong. I bet somebody is going to be twerking off this song. Nope!!!”
“Half of the kids can’t even spell LOVE…don’t make it worse….they also can’t even speak proper English…trust me I used to teach but had to stop because kids are idiots.”
“Couldn’t even make it through the whole song. Trap music for God now…..smh. So whats the goal here to have twerk teams and happy hrs for Jesus?? Please stop with the religious coonery, shucking and jiving. And y’all wonder why no one takes christians serious anymore.”
Meanwhile, the song has its defenders:
“Every body on the comments trying to act like they been saved all they life. Nah all y’all done been in the club listening to worldly music. This song still worship God no matter how you look at it. Y’all so busy judging her because the song is a upbeat song YALL MISSING OUT ON THE MESSAGE. Stop being so quick to judge & actually listen to the message.”
“This song got me TOO hype! The younger generation especially can bump this in their car with a positive message! I hope I don’t ever see Christians trying to criticize this work of ministry. She is reaching audiences that haven’t been reached before through this song with a powerful message of GOD! If you’re mad about this song and you’re a follower of Christ please find something better to do with your time and go grow some edges or something. While she’s out there ministering what you doing?………..I’ll wait…”
“I LOVE this song, not all the time do I want to listen to slow corny/sappy gospel songs. They’re great for when you’re going through hard times but when your prayers have been answered and you’re feeling good, this is what i would want to listen to. People are looking too much into it. Its gospel with a hip hop beat, its not that serious. Younger people (my generation) will listen to this song because of the beat and listen to her message. I still got the message as I was dancing in my car. People wake up, you can express your LUH for God in anyway you choose.”
“Why is there so much outrage towards this song. Because she sung holy words over a trap beat? I never knew one’s beat selection tarnishes the purpose of a song. So when Kirk Franklin added a dose of Hip-Hop to his music it was fine because he had a choir singing on it? The point of this song is to pass a message. Erica is brilliant for making the first gospel song on a trap beat because that’s the direction music has moved to. When people hear this, they’re going to want to dance. They’re going to want to sing along. They’re going to memorize the lyrics and want more, meaning they’ll be more interested in the word of God. Lighten up, people.”
What do you think of I Luh God?
For me, the way she slurs her words, it sounds like she sayin’, “I luh God, you luh God, what’s wrong witchu?” However, she is saying, “I luh God, you duh luh God, what’s wrong witchu?” So she’s saying, “You don’t love God? What’s wrong with you?” I’m wondering if other people will miss the duh/don’t?
One thing’s for sure: I Luh God has got people talking, and to stand out in today’s music/media world, you gotta get ’em talkin’. –Mark Weber, ChristianMusicMakers.com and MarkWeberMusicBlog.com