With lyrics that sound as if they’re straight out of his personal journal, Lecrae is a Grammy Award winning artist who doesn’t hesitate to share his story, viewpoints, and faith with his listeners. Shying away from the label “Christian Rapper”, Lecrae can be better described as a strong willed man with a personal relationship with God who isn’t afraid to make his values evident.
Lecrae wasn’t born into Christianity, and has embraced his colored past and real life experiences, enabling him to relate to the struggles of today’s youth. Whether he’s preaching to a church, hosting a small group with his wife, or performing on stage, it’s evident that he is a natural leader. With an impactful message to share, Lecrae has made it his mission to touch lives by sharing his story with others.
With six studio albums under his belt, two mixtapes, and five collaborative projects with the Rap group he leads, 116 Clique, Lecrae is a man making his dreams happen while pursuing his calling. Christian or not, there is value to be found in his music.
“I can’t make you believe anything, but I can tell you my experience and what’s happened to me.” says Lecrae.
So why should you care about his experiences? Lecrae is a seasoned musician who is able to balance a relationship with his wife, kids, God, and his love for music, while touching thousands of lives. Read on to find out how he does it all.
Lecrae Talks Mutually Beneficial Friendships With No Malice & Hopsin
HipHopDX: In your sermon titled “What Does a Real Man Look Like,” you said that you “don’t want to perpetuate the idea that your talent makes you a leader.” What defines a leader to you?
Lecrae: A true leader is someone who looks at the needs of the people and figures out how he can serve the people. He doesn’t have to tell people what to do. He inspires them to do it right along side him. I think that’s what a true leader does. He’s not a tyrant. He leads in service, humility, and in getting his hands dirty. If Martin Luther King Jr. just sat in the background and said, “Hey y’all need to march!” it wouldn’t have gone the same way. So by him getting out there, getting his hands dirty, it set the tone of a leader.
DX: You and your wife are small group leaders at your church. You’ve said you advise No Malice, and Hopsin recently said he looks to you as a mentor. Are you advising anyone else in the Rap game?
Lecrae: For me, I just make myself available. I never want and official title of “spiritual guru” or anything like that. I just make myself available. I’ve been fortunate enough to have older, wiser men pull me to the side and mentor me. There are some things that No Malice knows that I don’t know. There are things that Hopsin knows that I don’t know, so it’s mutually beneficial to all of us.
DX: Who is your mentor/advisor?
Lecrae: I’ve had so many people in my life, over the years, so I could go on and on. One that’s been there from day one and still continues to offer his wisdom is James White, out of Cary, North Carolina. He works as an executive at the YMCA and is a pastor as well, so he’s got a lot of great insight and wisdom.
DX: In your single from Anomaly, “Nuthin,” you speak about how mainstream artists of today are monotonous in their subject matter. What do you as an artist, but also as a consumer of music, consider being substance?
Lecrae: I think substance is when we can talk about something that calls people, or inspires people to see things from new paradigms, new ways. When it speaks to who we can be, that’s substantial. I mean, a riot just broke down St. Louis, that’s real life, that’s really happening, yet we’ll make 10 more songs about poppin’ bottles, and it’s kind of like man… something substantial just happened. How does it affect us? Whatever your opinion is, talk about it, because it allows us to have a dialogue and allows us to talk. It shows that we’re more than just monotonous babblers that talk about the same thing over and over. We have character, we have minds, and we’re deep.
DX: What’s your tactic for making people more receptive to your message?
Lecrae: I don’t think people like being manipulated, they don’t like a bait and switch. Like, “Hey here’s a new car! Just playin, it’s a bike.” So, I just wanna be authentic and be real. I don’t try to trick anybody or manipulate people. I talk about things anyone can connect with; I talk about real life issues. Just like on “Nuthin.” Regardless of your faith, you’ve definitely sat around and thought, “My goodness! If I hear this one more time I’ma lose my mind!” That’s just real life, so that’s the kinda stuff I talk about. If I so feel moved, or lead, or it calls for it, I may share my story and some of the things God has done in my life. I can’t make you believe anything, but I can tell you my experience and what’s happened to me.
Why Lecrae Says, “I’m Not Religious At All”
DX: How do you balance God, family, and your passion for music when you’re on the road?
Lecrae: The good thing about God is that he’s everywhere already, so I don’t got to take him with me. That’s just a relationship. I’m not religious at all; I’m not into the routines and rituals. I have a relationship with God, and he’s with me everywhere I go, so I don’t have to force that. When I’m on the tour bus or on stage, we’re communicating, and you know, I can read on my bunk.
Family is the tougher part. I have to make them a priority, and I have to create boundaries so my family doesn’t feel like they take a back seat to music. I had a tour date that, well, we had to move the whole tour around because the last show fell on my daughter’s birthday.
Lecrae Calls Michael Brown’s Killing “Unacceptable”
DX: On September 9 your album, Anomaly, will drop. The album is done. What has it been like sitting on a completed project?
Lecrae: Man! It’s good and bad. It’s good from the standpoint of you don’t have that weight on your shoulders anymore. It’s bad from the standpoint that I’ve already moved onto the next thing. The rest of the world… the people who are waiting on the project are still waiting. I’ll have to go back through the experience of listening to it again with them as they hear it for the first time.
DX: What’s old to you is new to them. What’s the project you’ve been working on now that the Anomaly album is done?
Lecrae: I’ve been just trying to knock out features. I don’t wanna give none of them away because I don’t know what all of the rules and regulations are… but that’s what I’ve been doing.
DX: Lastly, on August 9, Michael Brown (an unarmed 18 year old) was shot just outside of St. Louis. What are your thoughts on the excessive force, police brutality, and blatant racism we’re seeing in today’s police forces?
Lecrae: I think it’s unacceptable. I think the government was created to serve the people, not to run the people. I think we’ve forgotten that the government works for us. They’re not in charge of us, we’re in charge of them and I think we’ve forgotten that. Some of us are under educated and we don’t know that. They work for us, we vote them in, we put them in their position, we create these laws, rules, and legislations and we have the power. I think we’ve forgotten that, it’s that slave mentality of “yes sir, you win, you rule.” Because of that authority we’ve given over, we’ve been taken advantage of. I don’t think that calls for street justice, I think it just calls for us asking for what already belongs to us. We’re law-abiding citizens.