They’ve got the rock bands. They’ve got the adult contemporary. They’ve even got the gospel choir. But one thing the CCM world has been missing is true, authentic hip-hop. Well, until Lecrae.
When Lecrae started his journey back around 2003, he never dreamed he’d be here. And where is here, exactly? Here is taking his place in a genre of Christian music dominated by anything but his style of music. Lecrae set out to fill at gap that he believed was missing in the world of Christian music. He had a very captive audience on the outskirts of Dallas so he began writing music specifically for them. It wasn’t long before one of his fans and friends, Ben Washer, suggested Lecrae take his music to the world and before they knew it, Reach Records was born.“Back then we didn’t have music online like we do now. We just loved God and loved music,” Lecrae says.
Bringing his hip-hop/rap music to the Christian music industry was and still is unchartered territory.“I still ask myself where I fit in this whole thing,” Lecrae says.While he might have been leery about how to fit in, his fans, both old and new, were more than welcoming. He has been nominated for numerous Dove Awards and in 2010, nominated for a Grammy for Best Rock or Rap Gospel Album.
Despite his success, he never really desired to join a major label.“Initially, I wondered if joining a label was a good idea. I wanted to steward my gifts correctly but I never wanted to compromise,” he says. “I just want to change the way people see the world.”This vision remains at the heart of Lecrae’s music, his record label, and his non-profit organization, ReachLife Ministries, which exists to equip local leaders with modern, culturally relevant media tools in hopes to strengthen and revitalize the urban church. All of Lecrae’s projects feed his vision to change and empower people to truly understand and glorify the heart of God. Depending on the day and time, Lecrae acts in a variety of roles including a musician, a preacher, a leader, and the one he is most comfortable with, a visionary. “Sometimes people in my office only let me come in one or two days a week,” he says with a laugh. “I immediately go in with ideas and plans. Sometimes, just they can’t take it!”
Despite his ferocity and desire to see his vision reach reality, he advises new, independent artists to take it slow. “A quick rise is not ideal,” he says. “ Be focused on making real art and just serve the audience God gives you. Nothing can stop the plan God has for you.”And nothing could stop the plan that God had and continues to have for Lecrae. Since the beginning, his lack of fear and desire to bring hip-hop that glorifies God to the world continues to bring him great success.
“I never want people to tell me that I’m the next Toby Mac or Kirk Franklin. I’m just Lecrae. I’m a terrible you but I am the best me.”