One of the most disputed reasons that hip hop is seen as a degrading music genre is because of the subject matter in modern hip hop. Women are objectified, material items glorified and the rapper is being portrayed as almost God-like. The themes of radio and modern popular hip hop have made headlines as being a reason why our culture is more sexualized and materialistic. It isn’t crazy to want to be like one’s favorite rapper is it? These rappers and musicians seem to have it all, but in reality they don’t.
There is a rapper out there who understands this degrading aspect of hip hop culture and is pointing out the fake facade that other rappers are portraying. Thirty-four year old rapper, Lecrae has been rapping for awhile now and has released six albums already and has even won a Grammy. One who follows hip hop closely may never have heard of him because he doesn’t rap about modern subjects, but instead, is classified as gospel. In 2013, Lecrae won the Grammy for best gospel album for his album ‘Gravity.’
Recently, the Houston native, has been creating more buzz than he normally has in the hip hop world. On July 22, Lecrae made an appearance on the popular “Sway In The Morning” radio show with host Sway. Lecrae participated in Sway’s challenge called ‘5 Fingers Of Death’ where the rapper is subject to freestyle over five different beats in a row. The video is available to watch above. The hip hop world went wild after Lecrae finished the challenge because he killed it. He spit meaningful and insightful words off the top of his head.
Now that Lecrae has exceeded the challenge that a lot of rappers have trouble with, or dishonestly plan verses before hand, the anticipation for his next album is building. His seventh studio album ‘Anamoly’ is set to be released September 9 of this year. Lecrae describes why he has titled his album ‘Anamoly’ in an intro video that he released on his YouTube channel for his label Reach Records:
A young black man who loves hip hop and the culture of hip hop yet, loves Jesus at the same time makes me an anomaly. Am I completely hip hop? No. Am I completely conservative evangelical? No. Am I 100% urban? No. Am I 100% suburban? No. What culture do I belong to? I’m transcendent. I’m trans-cultural. I don’t fit into anything. Hip hop didn’t quite count on a Jesus loving, moral upright guy. Christianity didn’t quite count on this urban, hip hop loving dude. I’m ok with not being normal and not trying to be what everyone else thinks I should be. I think success is being exactly what God called us to be and fighting to your death to live that out. And if that makes me an anomaly, so be it.
Lecrae has authentically and organically gathered a following to fit his, somewhat, new genre of music. Many people relate and look to him because his words uplift and guide and inspire. He identifies with a group of people who have always felt disconnected from both the hip hop and Christian world. Lecrae not only makes music, he inspires people to be better and stronger individuals. In one of his singles off of ‘Anamoly’ titled ‘Nuthin’,’ he points out that the hip hop world isn’t producing uplifting material but instead talking about things that simply don’t matter.
They talking ‘bout the same old thing
Imma have to call a foul in the game
What you talking ‘bout?
A little money now you all OG
Talking ‘bout its all eyes on me
They ain’t talking ‘bout nuthin’
This has been said by many rappers about other rappers, but what Lecrae says later on is what makes him different:
I know you gon’ label me a hater
But inside you are greater than the songs you creating man’
And closes the song in his outro:
Its time to talk about who we are and who we can be
And we need to build each other up and not put each other down
I feel we not talking about nuthin right now
This call to action is just what hip hop may need right now. Rappers are talking about killing each other in their rhymes. Just a couple of days ago, on July 27, Childish Gambino stated he wanted to kill Kendrick Lamar, Schoolboy Q and Drake because he believes he is a better rapper than them. Is this ok? It’s cool to call out and challenge other rappers, but at the end of the day people, and kids, look up to these people. So, what image should rappers be putting out? Lecrae is different because he calls out rappers, but then shows compassion and empathy in asking them to just be better people. Hip hop as a genre has always been about uplifting people in hard times. This ‘Anomaly,’ Lecrae, may be the new savior of hip hop.
'Anomaly' is available for pre-order on I-Tunes now.