Preparing For Total Praise
Brent Jones is the Minister of Music at the Friendship Baptist Church in Southern California, and is a well -respected songwriter for such groups as the LA Mass Choir and the GMWA Youth Choir.
Brent Jones also heads up the mob --The T.P. Mobb. That stands for ‘Total Praise’. As Jones explains it, “a mob is a groupof unruly people, and that’s more or less what how the church classified us when we formed back in the early 90’s. Too radical.”
Garbed in the latest edgy trends and stylish street-wear, this group of 16 vocalists may indeed look unruly to some, but the anointed grooves eminating from this group indicates that their spiritual house is in order. Jones has taken his God -given vision of winning the masses for Jesus Christ via Christian lyrics put to top-notch production for a wild ride, and has arrived with a self-titled debut project on Holy Roller Entertainment.
The story begins in 1993, with the release of the critically -acclaimed Motown Comes Home album, an all-Gospel project featuring notables such as Stevie Wonder, The Temptations, and Shanice. Also included in that mix was Brent Jones and the T.P. Mobb, with a stunningly different sound on a choir track entitled "Spirit Control Me".
However, expectations for Motown’s entry into Gospel music soon fell apart with some untimely changes in the label’s front office personnel. In the meantime, the flava of contemporary urban, hiphop-influenced Gospel that the Mobb seemed to be pace-setting, suddenly exploded across the nation, with albums by both Kirk Franklin and God’s Property leading the way. Jones testifies that this was a very difficult time for him, as doors suddenly seemed to be closing for him, and opening very successfully for others. “For a time, my flesh got into a big depression, and I had a long pity party”. But God had not taken away His anointing, and His timing was not yet revealed.
Then there came some external pressures for Jones to make changes to the group, to make it more acceptable in some church quarters. “But, I couldn’t change the vision”, Jones explains, and he would not agree to change the T.P. Mobb into something that they were not.
The turnaround came with the entry of Brian Peters onto the scene. Jones had met Peters during the Motown album experience, and the two had clicked. “Brian Peters saw our vision, and believed in us.” As CEO of Holy Roller Entertainment, Peters offered to sign the group, with everyone involved fully aware that it might take some years before a project would materialize. Jones agreed to the contract, and summer 1999 sees the result.
The album is smooth, jammy and a street-savvy Gospel delight. Jones wrote all of the songs, which he describes as “urban, very R&B and cutting edge”. The singer- songwriter credits his Gospel influences as John P. Kee and The Clark Sisters, and deep musical influences from the likes of Alexander Morgan, DJ Quick and R. Kelly.
Jones comes across with a distinctive laidback intensity, which is also the way to describe the album. “This album is really divided into two themes”, he explains. “The first half has a daytime vibe, while the second half, a nightime vibe. It’s really a very radio-friendly album, with great production.”
“We’ve got some unusual stuff on this project”, he understates. “There’s one song, “Crazy”, that’s got us a bit of flak, with some people saying we’re using a negative word. But we’re crazy about God, and that’ s not negative. As for the song, “Sindy”, well that’s really just talking about temptation.”
As for the unusual cover art --mobsters in 1940’s getup -- Jones explains that this all fits into the scheme, since the T.P. Mob are mobsters for God. “With the whole railway theme, the L.A. scene, it really fits us”.
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