Top Urban Gospel Albums

Best Christian R&B

If your taste in gospel music tends to lean more toward the urban / R&B side of the coin, the Top Urban Gospel Albums is a great place to find CDs that you simply don't want to miss.

'God's Property From Kirk Franklin's Nu Nation' - Kirk Franklin (1997)

Kirk Franklin - God's Property From Kirk Franklin's Nu Nation
Kirk Franklin - God's Property From Kirk Franklin's Nu Nation. Brite Music

God's Property was my first Kirk Franklin CD and will always hold a special place in my heart. In a day long before Gospel artists were ever "crossed-over" on secular radio, I was thrilled to actually hear "Stomp" played on a local R&B station. I wasn't the only one who loved it. The Gospel Music Association named God's Property the Dove Awards Urban Album of the Year in 1998.

Listen For ...

  • "Love"
  • "My Life Is in Your Hands"
  • "Stomp"

'Whatcha Lookin' 4' - Kirk Franklin & The Family (1996)

Kirk Franklin - Whatcha Lookin' 4
Kirk Franklin - Whatcha Lookin' 4. Zomba

Some reviewers believed that Whatcha Lookin' 4 wasn't "quite as consistent" as his debut release, but all agreed that it was an exceptional album. The winner of the 1997 Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Soul Gospel Album and the Dove Award for Contemporary Gospel Album of the Year, this album had more thumbs up votes than thumbs down votes.

Listen For ...

  • "Whatcha Lookin' 4"
  • "Melodies from Heaven"
  • "Savior More Than Life"

'Healing - Live in Detroit' - Richard Smallwood with Vision (1999)

Richard Smallwood and the 21-member Vision had critics calling Healing - Live in Detroit the "best Richard Smallwood project to date." The Gospel Music Association agreed, and Healing was named the Traditional Gospel Album of the Year in 2000.

Listen For ...

  • "You Did It All"
  • "You're Not Alone"
  • "Holy Spirit"

'What If We Were Real' - Mandisa (2011)

Mandisa - What If We Were Real
Mandisa - What If We Were Real. Sparrow Records

Filled with ballads and upbeat songs that all carry strong lyrical punches, What If We Were Real is easily one of the best albums of 2011. 

Listen For ...

  • "Waiting For Tomorrow"
  • "These Days"
  • "The Truth About Me"

'Thankful' - Mary Mary (2000)

Mary Mary - Thankful
Mary Mary - Thankful. Columbia

Mary Mary (sisters Erica and Tina Atkins) made the world stand up and take notice with their 13 track debut. The album features a guest appearance from Destiny's Child (on "Good to Me") and had a song being heard in boxing rings when boxer Michael Grant selected "Shackles (Praise You)" as his entry music.

Listen For ...

  • "I Sings" (featuring B.B. Jay)
  • "Joy"
  • "What a Friend"

'Limited Edition' - Smokie Norful (2003)

Smokie Norful - Limited Edition
Smokie Norful - Limited Edition. EMI Gospel

This collection of fan favorites performed live was the Dove Awards Contemporary Gospel Album of the Year in 2004 for good reason. The live performance of "I Need You Now," recorded at T.D. Jakes' Manpower 2003 Conference in Atlanta, alone is enough to make this album worth every penny.

Listen For ...

  • "It's All About You"
  • "Praise Him"
  • "I Need You Now"

'One Church' - Kurt Carr (2004)

Kurt Carr - One Church
Kurt Carr - One Church. Gospocentric

If this album had to be summed up in one word, exuberant would be that word. On One Church, Kurt Carr seems to do the impossible, successfully blending traditional gospel and urban R&B with a South African choir, Scottish bagpipers, an Armenian accordionist, an Indian sitar, and a full classical choir.

Listen For ...

  • "My Time For God's Favor (The Presence Of The Lord - Remix)"
  • "Psalm 68 (Let Our God Arise)" 
  • "God Blocked It"

'Hero' - Kirk Franklin (2005)

Kirk Franklin - Hero
Kirk Franklin - Hero. Gospocentric

Kirk Franklin has been the poster child for Urban Gospel over the past several years. So when he debuted his own label, Fo Yo Soul Entertainment, his first album on the label would have to be beyond good. Hero didn't let anyone down. Kirk was his usual amazing self and the roster of guest talent was as phenomenal as it was unusual. Dorinda Clark-Cole, J. Moss, Pastor Marvin Winans, Sheila E, Sonny Sandoval (P.O.D.), Stevie Wonder, tobyMac, Tye Tribbett and Yolanda Adams all helped out on Hero, lending their impressive talents to the release.

Listen For ...

  • "Without You"
  • "Sunshine"
  • "Afterwhile" (featuring Yolanda Adams)

'Do It' - Dottie Peoples (2008)

Dottie Peoples - Do It
Dottie Peoples - Do It. DP Muzik Group

Dottie Peoples delivers a tried and true traditional gospel groove with a touch of blues on Do It.

Listen For ...

  • "There You Are"
  • "Without the Cross"
  • "It's Not Goodbye"

'Pages Of Life: Chapters I & II' - Fred Hammond & Radical For Christ (1998)

Fred Hammond - Pages Of Life
Fred Hammond - Pages Of Life. Provident

This two-disc set features the best of both worlds: a studio CD with plenty of worship, as well as a live CD with tons of praise. With a total of 29 songs in all, there are truly songs in there for everyone.

Listen For ...

  • "You Were Much Closer"
  • "Your Love"
  • "Your Steps Are Ordered"
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Your Citation
Jones, Kim. "Top Urban Gospel Albums." Learn Religions, Feb. 8, 2021, Jones, Kim. (2021, February 8). Top Urban Gospel Albums. Retrieved from Jones, Kim. "Top Urban Gospel Albums." Learn Religions. (accessed June 2, 2023).