Anyone who knows me intimately knows that I’m a huge fan of Fred Hammond, but I don’t think I’ve ever explained why–not that it needs any explanation! However, in a world full of deception, ambiguity, laziness, political correctness, and censorship, I feel compelled to share.
I was first introduced to Fred Hammond when I was 8 or 9 years old. Yes, I grew up on Fred! However, although I was introduced at an early age, I didn’t know who he was. We used to swap tunes with our neighbor, and one day he brought over a black cassette with a white label with “Michael Brooks” written on it in black marker. We popped it in, and it was great! We listened to that tape for years. We later bought Fred Hammond & RFC’s Inner Court album. It was awesome. Starting with the next release, Spirit of David, I bought everything that Fred put out. By the time I got to college in 2000, I had five of his albums, and he had long since been a favorite of mine. I decided to learn more about him and explore what I had been missing, so I bought all the CDs he released before the Inner Court. Luckily for my wallet, there were only two! But, lo and behold, I discovered I already knew Fred! I started listening to his first solo album, I Am Persuaded, and I knew every song! Why? They all came from the black tape called Michael Brooks! All these years I thought I was listening to some dude named Michael Brooks LOL. To this day I don’t even know who Michael Brooks is! That was a very pleasant surprise–especially since I neither owned a tape player nor had access to that tape anymore.
Fred has what I call uncompromising, consistent lyrics. No matter what the hot theme in churches is, no matter what’s popular, Fred’s lyrics do no waiver. You know, there was a time when everybody was preaching prosperity, so everybody started coming out with prosperity songs. But not Fred! He will write about God and His awesomeness no matter what. You’re not gonna find him writing that “fix me, Jesus,” “bless me Jesus” type stuff. Fred has been teaching us about worship for a loooooong time. I also love that his songs are scriptural. A lot of church folks say a lot of stuff that is a lot of nonsense, and we all pick it up thinking it came from the Bible. The majority of Fred’s songs you can pick up the Bible and either find the lyrics word for word, good paraphrase, or the theme/story.
I’ve mentioned before that I prefer songs that are God-centered over songs that are me centered. This is why there are some Christian artists that just don’t do it for me. For example, there is a certain extremely popular artist that is most famous for songs of encouragement. There is SO nothing wrong with that! However, I don’t need you always telling me I can make it. I already know that! Give me a song that tells me how to love God more. Give me a song that teaches me how to bring pleasure to Him. I need a good “cheat sheet” because I not creative in that way, so I need a song that says what I want to say to God so I can sing it to Him. That’s the kind of songs I like! Of course, those aren’t the only songs I like, but they get my attention the most. Fred’s lyrics do that for me.
Fred is also a musician! In my opinion, singer-musicians tend to have hotter, more adventurous tracks. Fred has been doing his thing, bringing a new sound to this gospel game as Deitrick Haddon would say, for a very long time. His music has always been much different than everyone else’s, and he’s still rockin’ it! His music is hot and adventurous not only because he’s talented, but also because it doesn’t sound cheesy. Too many gospel artists try to be copycats! They try to make their music sound as close to what we hear on the mainstream radio as they can afford, and to be honest it just sounds cheap and desperate. Just do you! Fred Hammond does his own thing and it always comes out sweet like candy.
Fred Hammond is anointed, talented, intentional, solid, God-centered, transparent and sincere, and that’s why I love him!