Are Kirk Franklin and Kanye West Related?

From collaborators to friends, gospel artist Kirk Franklin and rapper Kanye West have a noted friendship. Are the two musicians related by blood?

Kirk Franklin and Kanye West holding plaques
Kirk Franklin and Kanye West in 2007 | Jemal Countess/WireImage

What is Kirk Franklin known for?

When he was 22, Franklin founded The Family, a choir made up his friends and acquaintances. The group was signed by the record label GospoCentric. Their debut album, Kirk Franklin & The Family made history as the first gospel album to sell over a million copies. Franklin first went solo in 2000.

RELATED: Kirk Franklin Apologizes For Cursing His Son Out in Leaked Phone Call

Fast forward to many years later and Franklin has been a staple and huge presence in the music industry for over 30 years as a producer, songwriter, and singer. He has sold over 12 million albums and he also has over 20 #1 gospel hits. Franklin has also written several books, including Church Boy: My Music & My LifeThe Blueprint: A Plan for Living, and How Do Alligators Praise the Lord? among others. He is also known as the host of the BET music completion series. Sunday Best.

Franklin has put out albums including The Rebirth of Kirk Franklin, Hero, The Fight of My Life, Hello Fear, Losing My Religion, and Long Live Love. He’s also put out albums with Kirk Franklin’s Nu Nation (God’s Property from Kirk Franklin’s Nu Nation and The Nu Nation Project) and Kirk Franklin and 1 Nation Crew (Kirk Franklin Presents 1NC).

What Kirk Franklin has said about his relationship with Kanye West?

Franklin was often asked about West over the past few years because they have a documented relationship, especially when West began to gravitate more and more to gospel music in his artistry. Though Franklin has referred to West as his “brother,” they are not biologically related.

On his relationship with West, Franklin has often defended West from controversy, including his first foray into gospel music. Franklin collaborated with West on The Life of Pablo.

“Kanye is not me,” Franklin wrote on Instagram in part in 2016. “I am not him. He is my brother I am proud to do life with. I will not turn my back on my brother. I will love him, prayerfully grow with him. However long he’ll have me, and however long the race takes. To a lot of my Christian family, I’m sorry he’s not good enough, Christian enough, or running at your pace,” he continued. “And as I read some of your comments, neither am I. That won’t stop me from running. Pray we win.”

Years later, when West openly supported Donald Trump, Franklin was asked about West having ulterior motives in doing gospel music, such as his Sunday Service events.

“Let that be his medicine, he ain’t making no loot doing it,” said Franklin on Ebro Darden’s Beats 1 Radio show. “You could always tell intent by how people spend their money. How people spend their money is a reflection of their heart. And so the fact that this is something that he’s doing on his own, let that be his medicine.”