“Who’s this Licorice guy with the Rehab album that is today’s third-best selling digital album behind Lil Wayne and Kenny Chesney?”
Undoubtedly several audiophiles and casual fans checking iTunes’ Top Ten charts today asked that same question. Actually, his name is Lecrae (pronounced: Le-cray) – a Houston born Christian rapper who is the faith-based genre’s most visible artist.
He also co-owns the Atlanta-based Reach Records label that expertly marketed this project through viral videos, exclusive merchandise giveaways, and by cultivating an ever growing and loyal fanbase.
They know that Lecrae equals quality – both in music and ministry. He’s also admired for his counter-cultural message (especially as a member of the hip hop nation) of exalting others before himself.
A perfect example is how, on the drop day of what might prove to be his biggest album ever, he chose to stay offline and out of the limelight and instead headed to Sudan for a mission trip.
In a blog posted on the Reach Records website, Lecrae explained his Rehab theme like this:
The obvious cure is ALWAYS seeing and savoring more of Jesus. But HOW do we do that in this world of distractions competing for our affections?
Take me for example, I spent the last few months recording my album, rigorously checking my Twitter and Facebook, moving to a new area, traveling on weekends, filming videos, having family outings, date nights, meetings, and interviews. Where in that whirlwind do I find fresh affection for Jesus? Where do I demonstrate to my children that Daddy is different than other entertainers out there?
Many of us need to stop and reflect on God. I've found nothing like the solace and restoration of being somewhere my phone and laptop don't go; where I don't know what the latest movie is; where all the luxuries and distractions of my life are stripped away and I'm left to focus on Jesus and his mission.
Therefore, at the height of my new album REHAB, I plan to be in Southern Sudan.
Sudan has been obliterated by war for so long, resulting in over two million casualties. They have only known roughly 15 years of peace since 1956, and they are currently operating under a peace agreement that will be up for renewal next year. At the time of voting, the Sudanese will decide whether they want to remain one country or be split in two.
I believe it is of critical importance for people to see that the Gospel impacts every area of culture. I want to give them hope in Christ. So, I won't see the iTunes charts on release day. I won't know what Billboard, fans and critics have to say about it. I'll be consumed with the Master and His work.
He also asked that fans take this mission a step further and provided a link to financially support the ongoing efforts in Sudan.
Christian hip hop is blessed to have Lecrae and his Christ-first attitude as the face of this movement.
Those interested in hearing more from him and other artists on Reach Records can catch the crew’s Unashamed Tour which hits Houston next month on October 22. Details can be found here.