Lecrae Moore is the first rapper to win a Grammy for the Best Gospel Album of the Year, but not every Christian is celebrating. Perhaps the confusion in the audience at the Grammy Award ceremony as his win was announced was an allusion to a deeper tension among Christians at the time. Lecrae was outside the venue when his name was called out, and he therefore didn’t make it to give his acceptance speech. Not only did most people in the audience wonder who Lecrae is, but many never even got to find out!
Anyway, the award was for the album “Gravity”, and that’s not even where the controversy is. I am talking about Church Clothes 1. The rapper got his fans and critics into a frenzy when he collaborated with a “secular” DJ Don Cannon. The predictable accusations of “compromising” his witness and playing to the “worldly” gallery gushed without restraint. The song “Church Clothes” was however the bane of Lecrae’s fans. In the song, Lecrae went hard against the rampant hypocrisy in the church. This is not news. But the problem is that Lecrae’s approach was so harsh, to the point of seeming as if he wasn’t part of the church he was bashing:
I walked in the church wit a snapback, And they tellin’ me that that’s a “no-no”?
That’s backwards, and I lack words, For these actors called pastors
All these folks is hypocrites, And that’s why I ain’t at church
Truthfully I’m just doin’ me.
But Lecrae got himself out of this one by explaining the context of the song, that he was placing himself in the shoes of an unbeliever (an outsider) looking into the church. That’s all.
Or is it? Church Clothes 2 (the Mixtape) was released last Thursday (07 November, 2013) and it would seem that Lecrae wasn’t quite done with the controversy. In the song “Believe”, he makes some very bold proclamations about his uniqueness (such as the fact that he is not Kirk Franklin), his complexity (“I’m an algorithm”), his mission, and the fact that he doesn’t call his, gospel music:
Most of the things I thought I’d never do I did though
And I ain’t nothing but a man standing up on his tiptoes
Shoutout to Kirk Franklin, but I ain’t him
I’m what happens when hip-hop lets all the Saints in
I wouldn’t call it gospel music, but I’m Christian though
And this what happen when a Christian flow
Now it’s funny cause I don’t really got a home
And this industry saying leave him alone
Unless he become a clone
Have me singing the same old songs, no power in ’em
But I’m too hard to understand, I’m an algorithm
And evidently it’s evidence I’m a resident
Of somewhere that you know that you oughta be but you never been
So try to get used to me, cause I’mma settle in
Reminding you to settle your heavenly settlement
A sight for sore eyes, or an eyesore, it don’t matter
I own a label, and guess what, I’mma sign more
Essentially, Lecrae is gonna do Lecrae, and we better get used to it… I mean, him. What do you think of this latest development in the rapper’s career? Some have called what he is doing a “trajectory”, but whether it is a trajectory from the right path or towards it is up for debate. One thing is evident though. The rapper seems to have earned and secured his place in the hearts of many hip hop lovers (believers and unbelievers alike).
In his defense of the approach he took in Church Clothes 1, Lecrae said in an interview with The Source; “just because you’re inconsistent doesn’t mean the Truth isn’t the Truth.” Which may lead many to wonder, would he classify himself among the inconsistent?
Enjoy the free Church Clothes 2 Mixtape. I can promise you it’s better than the first… I think.