Wednesday, May 9, 2012
The most important album in Christian rap history ("Church Clothes") drops tomorrow
The more I think about it, the more I believe that Lecrae’s upcoming “Church Clothes” mixtape may be the most important Christian hip hop album in history. The free album, which drops tomorrow Thursday, May 10, is vital for a handful of reasons.
One, it’s being hosted by DJ Don Cannon aka “The Number 1 Co-signer.” When Cannon drops his seal of approval on a project people listen. Even if they aren’t already familiar with the artist, his brand carries weight that can open doors and ears for Lecrae.
Secondly, it has enough high profile features, on both production and the mic, to also garner interest from listeners unfamiliar with Lecrae. When you have beats from guys like S1 (Kanye's "Power"), Boi-1da (Grammy winning producer for Drake, Eminem), 9th Wonder (Jay-Z, Eminem, Drake, Destiny's Child), and Street Symphony (Gucci Mane) and guest verses from the likes of No Malice (formerly Malice from The Clipse) its yet another sign that these established hip hop heads are willing to put their name on the line for a talent like Lecrae.
Third, it’s going to be released for FREE. That means that people who may have only heard of Lecrae in passing from the BET Awards cypher, Statik Selektah’s compilation, or events like SXSW or Paid Dues may be willing to download the project and give it a spin they wouldn’t otherwise if they had to actually drop duckets on the release.
Finally, he appears to be taking a more "relational" approach to his content - offering lyrics and writing songs that the non-Christian listener can probably identify with more than a sermon rap about a heavy doctrinal issue.
Exhibit A: The "Church Clothes" lead single. The song is better than the almost too-literal video below, but listen to how Lecrae takes on the voice of an unbeliever in the first verse and addresses the negative connotations many already have about hypocrisy and failings within the Church at large.
I’ve covered this movement for almost 15 years (listening even longer) but really can’t recall a single album that had this much potential for full commercial crossover. The Gospel Gangstas and GRITS came close, but for some reason “Church Clothes” just seems to have a better mix of momentum, co-signers, and circumstances that might push Lecrae into the level of all-out mainstream success and embrace.
This obviously places enormous pressure on Lecrae. He may not even want to be the face of Christianity in hip hop, but if anyone is carrying that mantle these days it’s Mr. Moore. As such, I want to encourage you to really be praying for him and this project.
Pray that God would give him the right words, attitude, and mind this opportunity affords.
Pray for Lecrae’s family. For his business partners. For his spiritual leaders and accountability teams.
Pray that ears would be open and hearts would be softened by the message of this music.
Pray that media outlets accurately cover this release and convey the truth it communicates.
“Church Clothes” – Thursday, May 10. May it be an album our God uses for His glory.