Legendary gospel artist Kirk Franklin chatted with Rapzilla at the 2015 Dove Awards about signing Christon Gray to his label Fo Yo Soul Recordings and how Franklin’s hip-hop start influenced his interest in Gray.

“There are a lot of people who feel like my heart is just gospel,” Franklin said, “but my veins bleed hip hop because that’s what influenced me before I got saved. Before I became a Christian, my name was Kid Fresh, and I used to spit and rhyme and battle. I would always try to infuse that into my music.”

Franklin, who released his 11th studio album, Losing My Religion, in November, said he was thrilled to hear that Gray had interest in signing with Fo Yo Soul.

“I was blown away by that because trying to find somebody that can rhyme and sing and do them both well, and trying to make him part of our family was something that was very exciting to me because I can live vicariously through him,” Franklin said, “but still allow him to be him.”

Franklin also said that Gray, who recently released a new freestyle over Drake’s “Charged Up” instrumental, will drop his label debut album in the first quarter of 2016. The Grammy Award-winning artist added that Gray will rap more on the project than he did on his previous R&B-heavy LP, School of Roses.

“And he’s rhyming more,” Franklin said. “That’s the first thing I told him, ‘You need to rhyme more.'”

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