Lecrae, the Grammy-winning Christian rapper who recently made headlines surrounding his involvement in a lawsuit against pop star Katy Perry, is one of the most unlikely Hip-Hop stars you’ll ever meet. You won’t catch him rocking the most ostentatious jewelry or any other over-the-top threads. That’s because the 34-year-old is using his gift of rhyme to express his love for his faith.
While Lecrae is a Christian rapper, he’s been able to do what no Christian artist has been able to seamlessly move through the worlds of gospel and secular music with out compromising his beliefs or faith. “I’m not some church boy pretending to like rap. I’m from the culture of hip-hop. I’m not some rap dude trying to cash in on the church. I love Jesus!” he made perfectly clear during our conversation.
Being fluid throughout different musical genres has made him somewhat of an enigma for fans who try to pigeonhole him. This is why he titled his upcoming seventh album, due out September 9th, “Anomaly.”
While he is focused on putting out his new project and heading out on a subsequent tour, Lecrae was thrown into the spotlight when he was named as a co-plaintiff in a copyright infringement lawsuit against pop star Katy Perry. The news of the lawsuit hit the made headlines a few days before Lecrae stepped into our offices.
The Urban Daily spoke with Lecrae about his new album, how he manages to move through the worlds of gospel and Hip-Hop music, and that pesky little Katy Perry lawsuit. Allow yourself to get familiar.
TUD: Tell me a little but about your upcoming album “Anomaly.” Why did you chose that for the title?
Lecrae: The album’s called “Anomaly” because anomaly means a deviation from the norm. I think everyone has a “normal” box they’d like to place me in. I just don’t fit. When you think of gospel music, you think of Kirk Franklin or Donnie McClurkin. When you think of Hip-Hop, you might think 2 Chainz or Jay Z. And yet here I stand in this weird place. I’m the anomaly because I can walk in both of these worlds without any issues. That’s really what the album is about; not fitting in, but embracing that that’s my identity. The identity of one who doesn’t belong in any world.
I’ve heard people argue about whether you’re a gospel rapper or just a rapper with an inspirational message. So does that fluidity sometimes confuse fans?
Well, you know, there’s some who have to grow with you to begin to understand this is just different. It’s almost like culture shock. Some fans have a hard time figuring me out initially because they need some kind of box to put me in instead of allowing me to be the box. I am the category that you’re looking for.
You have a song called “Nuthin.” There’s a line that stands out where you’re calling yourself a hater because other rappers don’t say too much on songs anymore. Why are you calling yourself a hater?
That’s our tendency that when we feel challenged with something that’s probably true, it’s a default response to say, “Oh, you’re just hating. You don’t understand me.” And all I’m doing is calling people up. In the song I say, “I know these people greater than the songs they create.” It’s my belief that you were made for more than what you’re displaying. I mean here we are a civilization that lives in the age of technology, we built pyramids, we’ve created whole civilizations and you mean to tell me all we can come up with are these monotonous lyrics? We’re more innovative than we give ourselves credit for. We’re more brilliant than we give ourselves credit for and I think God made us to do more than we are with our creativity.
What would the Lecrae who made “Anomaly” say to the Lecrae who made “Real Talk”?
They would have an interesting conversation. The old Lecrae was young and zealous with no real life experience. I would tell him that all the stuff he spit on his first album sounds good on paper, but you have to wait until life beats you up a little bit and you can apply all that you were rapping before. The Lecrae now, I would just be loving and gracious to that dude because he doesn’t know any better.
How do you reconcile your faith with your love of Hip-Hop music? A lot of the subject matter in Hip-Hop is the total opposite of what gospel music is.
Part of it is because I didn’t grow up in the church. That was beneficial in some sense because I grew up with an appreciation for Hip-Hop to where when I did actually come to faith as a grown man it wasn’t like I never saw the beauty in the art of Hip-Hop. So I couldn’t just write it off as it was evil because some of those secular Hip-Hop songs changed the course of my life. Whether rappers want to believe it or not, I believe they were made by one creator who gave them these gifts and I can see that gift and I appreciate the gifts God gave them.
You are president and co-founder of Reach Records. So outside of just rapping, where do you see your career going?
I love the music industry. I grew up watching Diddy and Russell Simmons. I aspire to be like those guys. I love how it all works and the power of creativity and the arts. So I always will be working in the realm if arts and entertainment. I don’t know exactly how that’s going to flesh itself out ultimately. But I just love every aspect of it and wherever I can fit in is where I want to be.
Before I let you go, I’d be remiss if I didn’t ask. What is your involvement in the Katy Perry lawsuit? You and some other artists are reportedly suing her for copy right infringement, black magic and witchcraft.
First and foremost, I have to say, Katy Perry, I love you and have no ill will towards you whatsoever. I would hope that in any circumstances where there is a disagreement at all, people can come together and talk and work things through.
Now, I was in Hong Kong doing a concert and a press release came out. I made no statement about witchcraft or Illuminati. I don’t even know what the Illuminati is. So therefore, that’s not my statement. That’s not my conviction. I respect my man Flame and everyone’s entitlement to their copyright. I hope all of that works out. But as for me, I’m out of that equation.
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