Rarely do I come across “Christian” music outside of the Pop genre that happens to match up in quality with it’s secular counterparts. So significant is the problem that I actually had stopped looking for something of substance in the Christian Hip-Hop/Rap genre.
Enter Lecrae. I know he’s not new, but remember I stopped looking long ago. While the rest of the world may know about him, he’s new to me.
His newest album “Gravity” smashes all of those preconceived notions that Christian music is held to a lower standard than their secular counterparts.
Excellence in composition is not something that you can only expect from a few big name artists. And honestly, excellence in delivery is a must if we seek to get our message out there. We’ve gotten comfortable with listening to less than stellar music from the Hip Hop community because we don’t want to tarnish it’s message.
From the first listen you can see that Lecrae does not adhere to this philosophy. Not only does he not adhere to it, he crushes the notion that mediocrity is ok. His music is
on par better than much of the secular hip hop out there.
I wanted really to come up with something provocative to say about the first track on the CD because it’s so good I’m just at a loss. Then I logged in to Twitter. Here’s what Twitter had to say:
— Matt Chandler (@MattChandler74) September 5, 2012
“The Drop makes me want to fight someone in a good and godly way…” I couldn’t agree more.
What has impressed me more than anything is the simple thought that Lecrae has decided he is not a Christian rapper but a rapper who happens to be Christian. What’s the difference? It’s in a mentality. By identifying as a rapper he recognizes that to produce a top quality product he will be compared to ALL rappers, not just the Christian ones. As such he must be prepared to bring a sound that is competitive with his secular counterparts. And it is evidenced in his product.
I can spend the rest of the day spewing my enthusiasm for the quality of the product, but without any evidence then it sounds like the incoherent ramblings of a fan-boy.
“The Drop(Intro)” begins with a melodic symphonic sound that if you didn’t know what you were listening to, you might be fooled into thinking that it’s the introduction to a soundtrack from “The Godfather”. And maybe that’s the feel he was going for. Because the force behind the ensuing message is just that. Godfather quality.
I won’t lie, when I first listened to “Walk With Me”, I got the undertones of Jay-Z and Kayne on “Otis”. And that’s definitely not a bad thing.
“Falling Down” is a army-esque anthemic song that just makes you want to get in step with the beat. Ready to march on whatever enemy you might be facing. Honestly I was ready to kick over a chair in my office.
“Violence” sounds like Santigold performed at a Church rave. Where’s my glow-stick? Combine that with “No Regrets” and you have a real electronic house party going.
“Power Trip”. Phantom of the Opera anyone? I really love the songs that seem to interweave a symphonic sound into a hard hitting rap beat. I think my like stems from concepts that at their surface the two genres are supposed to be diametrically opposed. Then they get crushed together and truly illustrate that Rap is not only music but one that can take those “hallowed” grounds of the past and mold them into a modern day, re-envisioned symphony for the masses.
This CD isn’t pop-friendly enough to convert a non-rap fan. But if you had the privilege of growing up in the formative days of modern day Rap/Hip-Hop, this CD will fill you.
If you are a modern rap fan looking for something a little more substantive, this CD will fit you.
It will provide a REAL alternative to the secular stuff you’ve been spinning in your CD player. The canvas that Lecrae creates is masterful.
Giveaway We’re giving away the latest Lecrae album! Here’s how you can enter: Share this post via your favorite social media stream Tell us why you want this album in the comments below We’ll randomly pick one of you next week!
[Image via Olatz eta Leire]