There is a boom-box collecting dust somewhere in the basement of a church just itching for its chance to speak its devotion. Its whole life it has been told that it is too Hip-Hop for the pulpit, and too street for the deacons. As of late it has grown discouraged that its testimony may stay trapped inside of it forever. However, Hip-Hop artist, Lecrae Moore has made it his life mission to give a voice back to Hip-Hop and all of its creations. He speaks for every stereo, baggy-jean, and Yankees fitted, that was told it was too Hip-Hop to possibly be deemed a conduit of God. Lecrae is a living example that praise can come in more than one form.
Houston native, Lecrae, first began to solidify himself has a Hip-Hop artist with mainstream lyrical abilities back in 2004 with the drop of his first studio album Real Talk. This same album landed him on the top of Billboard Gospel, Christian, and Independent charts. Within a blink of an eye Lecrae has been able to gain the respect of the more mainstream artists of today. All of his buzz accumulating into perfecting timing for the drop of his first mixtape Church Clothes earlier this year to a great reception.
Currently, Lecrae is working on his next studio album entitled Gravity, which is scheduled to drop later on this year. Having already gotten a sneak-peak, I can assure you that the album is filled with not only devotion but also all the elements one would look for in a classic Hip-Hop album. From addictive, get up and move your body, beats; to gritty, unapologetically honest lyrics. Lecrae has surely staked his claim for the standard that Hip-Hop should be withheld in. During one of his many listening sessions, Lecrae was nice enough to spare a little time to answer a few questions:
Parlé Magazine: What was the thought process behind the title Gravity for your newest album?
Lecrae: The thought behind “Gravity” is that life is just weight, and it’s full of issues and problems. Too many times people just want to escape the problems and the weight of life, and all the realities we have to deal with. However, the truth is once you get back home from whatever thing you may have done to escape, people are still dying, people are still hurting, and you still feel empty inside. I think that we all have to begin facing those realities head on. It is the struggle that makes us who we are. Also, as a Christian I feel like it is the struggle that points us to where our hope should be. Not in this life, but in another life. So in an essence, all these struggles are just as inescapable as gravity. So let’s just all embrace it.
Parlé: How does it feel to basically be the face of this whole Contemporary Christian Music movement?
Lecrae: I don’t really think about it very much. I guess that is just a byproduct of being authentic in what I believe in and loving music. That’s not my ambition or my goal. My goal is to make good music, and my faith just defines me. So similar to if I was a Black man who did country–I can’t help to be Black, and I just happen to like country music. Just like I can’t help but believe in what I believe in, but also still love the music I do.
Parlé: What prompted you to be this Christian rap artist? Why not just go the route of say Lil’ Wayne or Kanye West? You definitely have the lyrical ability to go main stream.
Lecrae: Again, for me it’s not really a choice, it’s just me being authentically who I am. So if I were to go that route I wouldn’t be being true to myself. Also, honestly, I think there’s room for that. I believe there’s enough room in Hip-Hop for multiple different perspectives and voices.
Parlé: How do you feel about the certain Christians or Gospel artists who do not approve of your music? What is your opinion on the individuals who are still stuck in the traditional sense of what praise music is or in their eyes supposed to be?
Lecrae: I just think that mindset really limits the opportunity you have to reach the world at large. I feel like if the goal is to only reach your own little niche or own little area, then sure do your thing. However, my ambition has never been to exist in some little box. I want my music to reach as far and wide as it can. So in that sense I guess my music just isn’t for them.
Parlé: What do you wish to accomplish with your music? What are you looking to spread to the youth once they begin to learn about this thing called Hip-Hop?
Lecrae: I remember Mos Def said something similar to how everybody wants to ask what happened to Hip-Hop. Then he said well if you want to know what happened to Hip-Hop ask what happened to ourselves then. In reality we are Hip-Hop. What I really want people to gain from my music is that there’s another perspective of life out there to see. Media and television and the culture all portray Hip-Hop with the lens it wants to portray it through. So when you watch television, beer commercials make every guy look dumb with beer goggle eyes. The same thing goes for the Hip-Hop culture. There’s just this perpetuated image and I’m here to let everybody know there are Christians in Hip-Hop. There are married people who are upstanding and who want to raise their children right. Who aren’t those promoters of violence you see.
Parlé: How do you think God feels about all the work you are currently doing with your career?
Lecrae: I think every Christian has the same calling. That is to love God with all your soul, heart, and strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself. So with that said my calling is not to make music to do all the work the church is supposed to do. I think God just wants me to love him with all that I have as well as love people. So hopefully I could point people in the direction where they could get all the things my music can’t provide for them. But I don’t put that weight on my shoulders. I just want to serve God, love him, and love people.
Parlé: So with all the projects you have going on, when do you think your work will be done? What is the accomplishment that’ll have you say, “Okay, I’ve done it”?
Lecrae: I think probably when I’m dead and gone. I want to be an elder statesman in this game; I want to always have a voice at the table. David Banner has a voice, Bun B has a voice, and Russell Simmons has a voice. They all have that voice. Even well after working at Def Jam Russell Simmons will always have a voice in Hip-Hop. I just want to always have a voice in the culture. I want people to be like, “Man, I’m wrestling with issues like faith and relationships, where can I turn?” And I want to be that voice that people can turn to.
Parlé: What advice do you have for the young Hip-Hop artist coming up, who is scared to talk about God, in fear of not being accepted?
Lecrae: Funny thing is, just taking the example of Lil Wayne, his fans see him has this thugged-out Lil Wayne. However, when he did the song “How to Love” people didn’t give him any kind of slack for it. So at the end of the day I just think it says a lot more when people are not afraid to take risks. The people who get this platform and say I’m going to create work that is authentically me, go further. So if your faith defines you, why hide it? Why be ashamed? My whole motto and movement is all about being unashamed.
All in all, Lecrae is simply an incredibly humble young man who believes in waiting for the Lord to usher his footsteps. He is a Christian as well as he is Hip-Hop, and in no way does either conflict with the other. He is a pioneer and in years to come the world will wonder why they didn’t catch on earlier. So don’t allow yourself to be “that-guy” as well.
Make sure to purchase his newest album “Gravity” available later on this year, and see for yourself what all the hype is about. My suggestion: Do yourself a favor and get familiar with the track entitled “Violence” off his album. That track is definitely going places. The album hits stores on September 4th, with features from Big K.R.I.T., Trip Lee and more. Lecrae will also follow-up with his 30-city “Unashamed Tour” beginning in October.