This Christian rapper Twitter-shamed peers for protesting Ferguson while glorifying violence in their rhymes. He’s also a Grammy winner embraced by sports stars like Dwyane Wade. The question now: Can Lecrae, who rhymes about walking through “valleys in the shadows of death” the way many rappers rhyme about the concrete jungle, be the first Christian rapper to break into the mainstream?
Lecrae photographed by Chris Stanford on August 28, 2014 at Reach Records in Atlanta, Georgia.
“I’ll put it to you like this: Yo...
“I’ll put it to you like this: You can only go as mainstream as people will let you go,” Lecrae says. “I’m not going to change my heartbeat or my passion, but I’ll go where the people will let me go.”
“A lot of times,” says Lecrae, “you’re the afterthought. Like, ‘We’re going to do this panel on Ferguson; we need to get some voices from the music community. J. Cole, [KRS-One], Kendrick [Lamar], Talib [Kweli] ...’ It’s like, ‘Yo, what about Lecrae?’ ‘Nah, what would he say? He’s probably going to walk us through the Bible.’ Those stigmas are frustrating at times, but it’s the cross we bear.”
“I’m not saying that if you do ra...
“I’m not saying that if you do rap about lawlessness, you’re not qualified to ask for justice,” he explains. “I think that’s how people took it. What I’m saying is, that kind of inconsistency, when the majority of your songs talk about killing people, and then you are screaming for justice, that inconsistency in people’s minds creates apathy and says, ‘Why should I care about what you’re saying, because I just heard 10 songs about why you don’t respect the law, and now you want the law to work on your behalf?’ ”
“When you’re part of hip-hop cult...
“When you’re part of hip-hop culture but you’re a Christian,” he says, “people want you to be either-or. Or they’ll create a category for you, like, ‘Oh, gospel rap!’ I’m just devout in my beliefs.”