Purists are right: Tradition is vital for gospel music. Aretha Franklin’s iconic “Amazing Grace” contains many of the same qualities that would’ve been heard in African-American services in the 19th century. On top of the age-old handclaps and backing choir, Franklin engages in a classic call-and-response with the congregation, filling them with the Holy Spirit with each spiraling cry. Yet even purists must admit that gospel has also proved to be a hotbed for innovation. Mahalia Jackson, the Queen of Gospel, incorporated jazz into her performance, and The Staple Singers featured Delta blues guitar. This trend has only accelerated in the 21st century, with urban contemporary stars like Kirk Franklin and Erica Campbell embracing hip-hop and R&B. By paying respect to the old ways while at the same time consistently renewing itself, gospel has found a way to remain a powerful form of worship music for successive generations of Christians.