Top Artists of 2008

The year gone by was eventful in many ways. In terms of Gospel, here's a list of the top artists in the genre, based on their activity over the past twelve months. Agree? Disagree? Have your say too (click here!):

Marvin Sapp 1. Marvin Sapp
No surprise here. The Zomba Gospel artist dominated the charts all year long! With the ubiquitous single "Never Would Have Made It" he single-handedly took over the gospel singles, album and airplay charts.

2. Mary Mary
Mary Mary's latest release, The Sound, has made major moves on the Billboard charts. The album debuted atop both the Top Gospel Charts and the Top Christian and Gospel Albums Charts. In addition, they debuted at #2 on the Top R&B Hip-Hop Albums Charts and #7 on the Billboard Top 200 Charts, marking the highest ranking gospel debut of 2008 on the Billboard Top 200 Charts. Following the pattern of their previous projects, these two sisters demonstrate their musical and lyrical prowess that clearly strikes a chord with the Gospel nation.

3. Lecrae
LeCrae's Rebel made history in October; his latest release clenched its place in gospel music history as the first Holy Hip-Hop album to ever debut atop Billboard's Top Gospel Charts. In addition, this marks the first time a Holy Hip-Hop release has ever taken the coveted top spot on the charts. Rebel also debuted at #2 on the Top Christian & Gospel Albums charts and #60 on Billboard's Top 200 Charts, outselling albums from Tina Turner, LL Cool J, Raphael Saadiq, The Jonas Brothers, and Usher. It's not just about the rankings though, as this emcee has plenty to say, with spiritual depth that is truly welcome.

4. James Fortune:
Any album that produces the second longest running #1 single in gospel music history HAS to be considered a gem of an album. Surprisingly, the album didn't nearly get the attention that it deserved, as it is chock full of bona fide hits!!! From "The Blood" and "I'm Good" to "If You Want To" and "There Ain't Nothing", this album was a serious powder keg just waiting to explode. Guest appearances from Nakitta Clegg-Fox, Nikki Ross, and Shawn McLemore, added more fuel to the fire. James Fortune & FIYA released one of the year's greatest all around albums, proving that they are anything BUT a one-hit wonder.

5. Shekinah Glory Ministry
As church choirs go, very few see the light of day with chart success and record sales. With their sophomore release, Shekinah Glory Ministry LIVE, they have been certified gold by RIAA. (Gold certification denotes album sales of 500,000 units.)

6. Hezekiah Walker
The bishop came out strong late in the year with a strong release and hot single "Souled Out". He also launched his radio career on New York 1190 WLIB.

7. Deitrick Haddon
With Revealed, Haddon's most recent solo project, the Detroit native solidified his membership in gospel's upper echelon. Filled with hits, and an abundance of energy that saturates his work, the album gained top spots not only on the charts, but in media players of fans across the country.

Jonathan Nelson8. Jonathan Nelson
This songwriter/artist had a banner year. His debut national release, Right Now Praise validates him not only as a songwriter, but an artist. After of years of penning hits for the likes of Donald Lawrence, Youthful Praise, TD Jakes and Youth for Christ, he proves he's no fly-by-night.

9. Rev. Timothy Wright
The gospel community is keeping this ministering pastor in prayer after the tragic car accident that resulted in the going home to glory of his wife Betty as well as his grandson. Rev. Wright continues to recuperate and the gospel community continues to lift him up.

10. Dr. Bobby Jones
Dr. Bobby Jones was commissioned by the White House to travel to China for the 2008 Olympic Games. Jones, who is serving his second term as Ambassador of Dominica, served in his diplomatic position and interviewed Olympic athletes for his TV programs. Notably those shows are on THREE different networks - BET, Gospel Music Channel, and The Word Network. Jones also recently concluded tapings for the 29th season of Bobby Jones Gospel and released two projects this year.

— reviewed by Melanie Clark and others —

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