The introduction combines autobiographical reflection with cultural criticism to outline the book’s unique contribution to gospel music history. It recounts the major debates that consumed gospel music insiders as the genre assumed a larger place within mainstream popular culture: Were contemporary gospel artists who experimented with the rhythms of R&B and hip-hop more concerned with selling records than saving souls, and if so, was gospel music on the same path of decline as its secular sibling R&B, which some critics insisted had lost its soul? Did acts like Andraé Crouch, the Winans, and Kirk Franklin really depart from the gospel tradition? Or were they simply following in the steps of their predecessors who had also employed new sounds and technologies to fulfill their evangelical mission?
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