Erica Campbell broke new ground with her hit trap gospel song "I Luh God" last year, which she now reveals was inspired by one rapper proclaiming his love for drugs.
After rapper O.T. Genasis' 2014 song "CoCo," an ode to the love of cocaine, became a top 20 hit on U.S. Billboard charts with major airplay, the 43-year-old gospel singer knew she had to do something.
"I was listening to the radio. Some song called 'I'm In Love With The CoCo' came on, and I got upset 'cause I'm like, this is what kids are singing and saying over and over," Campbell told Rapzilla. "Why can't [Christians] change that? We got some crazy writers, incredible artists that love Jesus. Let's infiltrate! Let's get in there and change it."
The singer and songwriter decided to craft a record where people could party for Jesus.
"I know sometimes I want to turn up and have a good time, but I don't want to listen to [music like 'CoCo'], so I figured I'm a songwriter, I'll write my own song," she said. "I got in a little trouble for [the song], but I don't think God is ever mad when you're saying that I love God, no matter the dialect, slang, whatever. I love God... I luh God, It's all the same."
The song, which has amassed over 3 million views on YouTube, has a Hip Hop beat and features Campbell using a rap cadence never heard before by fans.
"They're used to (me) very pulled up and polished and singing 'Yesterday' and 'Help.' But, I just wanted to have fun, declare my love for God and at the same time reach an audience that I think the gospel community sometimes ignores," Campbell previously told CNikky.com. "There is Christian hip-hop but I feel that more Caucasian children gravitate to it. So, I figured, you're my people so, let me get with my folks!"
Campbell, who grew up in Inglewood, California, said being raised in a rough neighborhood has influenced who she is as a person. Even if she has not previously showcased that to the world, it is still a part of her experience that is now present in her music.
The singer said she's used to doing things differently and facing criticism because of it. Still, she believes that the devil can attack the church in situations where members criticize one another.
"What we have to understand is that this is the enemy's number one tool. He knows that we're not going to stop going to church, but if he can get you to go to church and fuss and argue about things, then you can't hear God's directive," the singer said. "So, if you're distracted by someone who wears a dress and you don't like the dress, etc. you've got to really assess yourself and say 'What is really going on?' 'What do I really have a problem with?'"
While Campbell recognizes that not everyone will appreciate songs like "I Luh God," she previously cautioned critics to think about what they're doing to the body of Christ when they publicly bash her musical expression.
"... I think before you criticize, and especially before you criticize publicly, ... because what that does is make the Christian body look even more divided and more argumentative and at war with each other. If you know me, or you know someone that knows me, contact me as opposed to posting something ugly or nasty," said Campbell. "Now, you've created this conversation and the people that like it are mad and the people that don't like it are mad, and really God gets no Glory out of that. If you take all of the music away, which is the main thing people are mad at, and you just look at the words, you change your total view."
Campbell does not take her career for granted and previously spoke to The Christian Post about remembering her purpose when accidentally offending people.
"I really love Jesus and I'm really really grateful for what I do. I don't take it lightly," she told CP. "It is never my intention to offend people but I know sometimes they get offended. I just hope that they hear and see my heart in the things that I say and the music that I sing...The real purpose is to reach people for Jesus."