Lecrae Makes Music Concerned With The Soul

Lecrae is a devout Christian and his lyrics deal with issues of faith, family and social justice.

On embracing his faith within hip-hop: It’s interesting, because it’s such a phenomenon for a hip-hop artist to fully embrace his Christian roots and his faith. That becomes something that people almost need you to justify. What we’re communicating in our music is love and justice and service and community. But it’s rare that we’ll turn the tide and say, “Hey, justify why violence and misogyny and drug abuse is okay within hip-hop.” I think that’s tragic to some degree.

 

When Lecrae gets into something, he goes all in. The hip-hop artist is a devout Christian, and his lyrics deal with issues of faith, family and social justice.

“I consider what I do soul music,” Lecrae says. “It music that is concerned with the soul.”

But the church doesn’t always understand many of the people with whom he associates — and, in Lecrae’s experience, the mainstream rap world sometimes feels like the cool kids’ table. That doesn’t change the fact that last year’s Anomaly simultaneously topped both the Billboard gospel charts and the conventional charts, edging out Maroon 5 for the No. 1 spot nationwide.

In the middle of a worldwide tour, Lecrae spoke with NPR’s Rachel Martin about embracing his faith within a genre that doesn’t always support it, publicly admitting one’s emotional wounds in music, and the role “the brokenness of humanity” has played in Baltimore and Ferguson.

Interview Highlights

On his song “Outsiders”

A lot of us are trying to manicure our perceived self. When I put it out there and say, “This is the unmanicured version of it,” I’m subjecting myself to scrutiny. Being faith-driven, being a hip-hop artist, being artistic in an urban context — all of those things make you unique, and you put yourself on the outside of what’s considered the norm.

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