Puffy Gospel Album, Thank You, Coming In March

Rapper shares performing credit on disc with gospel singer the Rev. Hezekiah Walker.

NEW YORK — Win or lose, Sean "Puffy" Combs plans to mark the end of his trial on gun and bribery charges by thanking God.

Thank You, Combs' long-in-the-works gospel album, is due for release in early March, according to gospel singer the Rev. Hezekiah Walker, who will share performing credit on the album with Combs.

"It's all giving thanks to the Creator. It's all gospel," Walker said Friday during a break in Combs' criminal trial, which he attended for the day. "It's gonna send a strong, positive message."

Walker sings on the album and Combs raps on it; they finished the disc just three weeks ago, as jury selection in the trial began, Walker said.

R&B singer Faith Evans, who also attended the trial Friday, said outside the courtroom that she sings on the album's first single, "You," as well as on the track "Brighter Day."

R&B singers Brandy and Kelly Price appear on the album as well, according to Evans. "It's the whole Bad Boy family — every song is a different artist," she said.

The album's sound will mix gospel with hip-hop, according to Walker, who won a Grammy for his 1995 album with the Love Fellowship Crusade Choir, Live in Atlanta at Morehouse College.

Combs and Walker have been working on Thank You since early 1999, with the album originally slated for release in fall of that year. A spokesperson for Combs' Bad Boy Records, which is releasing it, could not be reached for comment Friday evening.

Walker's friendship with Combs became public that summer, in the wake of Combs' alleged assault on record executive Steve Stoute, when Walker said he was serving as Combs' spiritual advisor.

Walker and Evans both said that they were giving spiritual support to Combs during his current ordeal.

"I have a lot of faith," Evans said. "We're praying for him. If he's given a fair trial, he has to come out unscathed."

On his way to the courthouse elevator, Walker stopped to hug Combs' mother, Janice Combs.

"Don't worry, it's going to be all right," Walker told her.

"I know," she replied.

(Click [article id="1438616"]HERE[/article] for a complete explanation of the charges in the case. For our complete trial coverage, click [article id="1439236"]HERE[/article].)

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