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Exclusive Lecrae Interview: 'Authentically Hip Hop, Authentically Christian'

MCDONALD'S USA, LLC LECRAELecrae is currently a part of the McDonald’s Inspirational Gospel Tour. When the tour kicked off last week near Washington, DC, Lecrae electrified the crowd, both young and old with his transparent, hard-hitting lyrics laced with the Christian message.

The Grammy winner said he is happy to be a part of the tour. He’s also excited about being part of the tour which includes Smokie Norful, John P. Kee, Tamela Mann and Vickie Winans. I spoke with him about the tour and more in this exclusive interview.

Which artists are you looking forward to the most on the McDonald’s Inspirational Gospel Tour?

I think everyone is going to bring all sorts of wisdom. I’ m sure there is something that I can learn from all of them. They’re all incredibly gifted and been doing it for a while, they’re seasoned and I just look forward to learning from all of them and hearing their insight and wisdom on a multitude of different areas that I know I don’t know.

How does it make you feel that you were included as a hip hop artist?

Hip-hop is being seen seriously across the board as a legitimate art form in terms of faith based artists. I applaud the gospel music industry for making inroads and making opportunities. We are a younger generation who wants to influence people and to see the body of Christ converge and wants to see people in general in our community uplifted.

Your music is always biting, no holds barred. Why do think it’s important to deliver hard truths to your audience?

The music gives room for that. When you’re singing you can’t squeeze as many lyrics into a verse, but in rap you can say a whole lot more. So where someone may say the sing and they can try to get their point across, but by rapping it you can make a lot more points. I think it packs just a little bit more of a punch than usual in terms of the messaging.

Sometimes you are a magnet for controversy, “Church Clothes,” for example

With great influence comes great criticism and I think you do have to expect that and embrace it. Just make sure you’re above reproach and that at the end of the day there’s no accusation that stands that would disqualify you from what you’re ultimately trying to do.

Lecrae debuted his new video “Confessions,” featuring David Banner on BET’s 106 & Park. What message does he hope listeners get from the video?

Hopefully there’ll be an awakening to the vanity of most of the things that we pursue, power, pleasure, possessions. Those things in and of themselves are not wrong, but when they become ultimate things, then there’s a problem. So money’s not a bad thing, but when it becomes an ultimate thing, then it becomes a problem. I just wanted to paint the picture for a lot of people who may be chasing power, pleasure or possession as their ultimate source of satisfaction and the emptiness of that chase.

Gravity sold 70,490 units in its first week, making it the #1 Rap Album, Lecrae#1 Christian Album and #1 Gospel Album #1 Independent Album and #3 on the Billboard 200. Lecrae currently holds the title as the highest-selling independent artist in first week sales for 2012.  Andy Mineo, an artist on Lecrae’s Reach Records label soared to # 1 in his debut Heroes For Sale last month.

When Andy Mineo debuted with large numbers, there was some talk that that gospel music could learn some things from hip hop. What do you think?

I think there’s always something to be learned. We can all learn from one another. I would definitely say as we continue to do music and specifically as there is a passion for the younger generation, younger demographic to listen to music that would encourage them, uplift them and strengthen them, that the Andy Mineos of the world, the Lecraes of the world is a step in that direction. Just thinking through that and I think, not being scared of it or confused by it, but really investigating and getting to understand, getting to know it is probably one of the best things.

Gravity seems to still have a lot of juice left in it. Are you back in the studio?

I’m definitely still excited about all the things that Gravity has done. It also just got nominated for a Billboard Music Award and so I’m really excited about that, but I’m working on the next project. No tentative dates, titles or anything; I’m just piecing together music and concepts right now.

Although you’re still working on the concepts, what can we expect on this next project?

There’ll be a lot of transparency in there, I think. Just a lot of expressing some personal experiences and what God has brought me through thus far. It’s very unique. I know I stand on a unique platform and I’ve seen some things from a unique perspective and some I think I’ll be a little bit of a broadcaster as I tell about some of these experiences and how they’ve affected me and how God is working on me in that process.

How would you sum yourself up for those who may not have heard of Hip 

Lecrae at the 2013 Grammy AwardsLecrae is definitely authentically hip hop. I’m not forcing it; I’m not trying to grab a certain culture, demographic. I really did come from that world, but I’m authentically Christian. I am not faking that, not trying to paint a picture of myself as a Christian. I would hope that I represent to this generation who is consumed with all sorts of images that you can be a good father or good husband a leader, educated, an entrepreneur; that you can be all those things. You can influence your community and the world around you without compromising who you are and what you believe in.

 

 

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