Lecrae Puts On His Mainstream Church Clothes

While Gospel rapper Lecrae may not be the first rapper in his genre to ever release a mixtape, Church Clothes may be causing the biggest buzz than any of its predecessors. I was first introduced to Lecrae by a coworker a couple of years ago. Since then, I have purchased his Rehab and Rehab: The Overdose CDs and downloaded his new mixtape, Church Clothes. All 3 CDs are in heavy rotation on my iPod now. I downloaded his new mixtape on www.datpiff.com and if you haven’t heard it, you should check it out. And the best part…it’s free! Maybe it’s just me, but when I hear the word mixtape, I don’t generally think of gospel music. The extent of artists I would expect to release mixtapes would be Nicki Minaj or even Raheem Devaughn. But has gospel music gone too far when it can be found in the same bucket so to speak as hard-core secular music?

Some call it blasphemy, but I call it genius. Many people who aren’t even avid listeners of gospel music have tuned in to Lecrae and what he has to say on Church Clothes. The mixtape’s title track is probably the most controversial song with lyrics like “They telling me I’m gon reap a mil/If I sow into these low crooks…I lack words for these actors called Pastors”. He is basically speaking from the point of view of someone who believes the church is nothing but a place that’s full of hypocrites. Is he saying he is that person? No. But, the production and delivery of his rap here can easily be poured into the mold of current secular rap music. So was this done on purpose to catch people’s attention (and save souls) or just by happenstance? But one thing is for sure, you can’t deny his talent.

A native of Houston, TX (my hometown), he has the down south appeal of mainstream secular artists like UGK and T.I. But if you listen closely to his lyrics, he’s delivering a positive message. On the song “Black Rose”, he raps over a track that could be well suited for reggae rapper Sean Paul and delivers a concept reminiscent of Tupac (The Rose That Grew From Concrete). Despite any secular artists that he may remind you of, Lecrae proves he has carved out his own lane. In my opinion, the concept of Church Clothes embodies the “come as you are” concept, with great production and meaningful lyrics. Some people may still believe that this type of music is too radical for gospel music. Church Clothes even features an appearance from No Malice (formerly named “Malice” of the duo The Clipse…remember their hit song “Grinding”?). True, the approach may be unconventional, but you can’t deny the reach it’s gaining in the process.

I may have been a little late finding out about Lecrae (and the group he’s a member of, 116 Clique), but from everything I’ve heard from him thus far, he’s definitely gained a fan. Lecrae boldly states that his style is not gospel, and can sit comfortably next to any hip hop artist. Truth is, he’s exactly right. With almost 300,000 downloads in just 3 months of its release, Church Clothes is impacting many people. Have you heard Lecrae’s music? What do you think of it or Christian/gospel rap period?

4 thoughts on “Lecrae Puts On His Mainstream Church Clothes

  1. Thank you so much for doing your Music Monday on Lecrae! I’ve been following Lecrae as well as the 11six Clique’s music since 2005. Their music is what I play in my car throughout the week because they rap about Truth to the hottest beats. Truth will definitely make you free. I haven’t heard Rick Ross cd but I’m sure as you mentioned, Lecrae’s is better! See, the Truth made you free. Haha!

    I will continue to lift up Lecrae and others like Trip Lee, Thi’sl, Flame, etc. These guys really uplift Jesus Christ in their music and they are finally starting to hit all air ways. Thank you again for the blog!

  2. You’re welcome Tam! Oh wow, I see you’ve been a fan for a while then. I’m sure you know a lot more about them than I do then. I have one of Trip Lee’s CDs too and it’s still on my iPod. Right, I agree…they are definitely speaking truth and the music is hot too. Thanks for checking out the blog!!

  3. Yeah, mixtapes are just a way of putting out material and experimenting with different songs from others and such. It’s really genre-less when you think about it. I applaud him for taking a different approach. Gospel needs more different approaches instead of the same style of production that can take over at times and the same lyrics (though true and scriptural, can border on the cliche). Keep doing your thing Lecrae and keep spreading the good news and glorifying God.

    • Well said. I see what you mean about mixtapes being genre-less. Guess I just don’t think about the gospel genre doing it as much. I agree though, in order to reach the masses, things can’t always be done the same way. I commend him too and I’ll be jamming this one for a while! Thanks for checking out the post!

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