Abandoned at an early age by his mother, Kirk grew up quicker than most kids his age and had very little direction.
Kirk was adopted by his mother's great aunt Gertrude when he was young. Thankfully, her guidance helped push Franklin into a better direction. But it was when he was introduced to Pastor Tony Evans of Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship in Dallas that Kirk was able to realize his life could be so much more.
Kirk Franklin's upbringing in a Southern Baptist home in Dallas, where he formed a youth choir called God’s Property, comprised mostly of students and alumni of a Dallas performing arts high school. He recorded his album with God's Property in 1996 and the group took off like never before! Their gospel sound was heavily influenced by hip-hop and R&B. Franklin embraced the transformative sound and made a gospel style all his own.
From his first album, Kirk Franklin & The Family, Kirk released "Why We Sing." The song peaked at No. 9 on the Hot 100 and remained on the chart for 26 weeks.
Kanye and Kirk Franklin linked up when Fonzworth Bentley put out a call to Kirk while Kanye was working on his The Life of Pablo album. The album features Kanye's hit track "Ultralight Beam," on which Chance the Rapper and Kirk Franklin are featured guests, bringing the perfect balance of gospel vocals and-hip hop edge.
In 1998, Kirk Franklin put together an iconic collaboration with the song "Lean On Me," featuring R&B/hip-hop hitmakers Mary J. Blige, R. Kelly, The Family, Bono and Crystal Lewis. The single earned Franklin three Grammy noms for Song of the Year, Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group and Best Rhythm & Blues Song.
Fun fact: Kirk Franklin earned 12 Grammys and currently has 22 Grammy nominations.
Now that's major!
(Photo: Randy Shropshire/WireImage)