Popular rapper and professing Christian Lecrae has credited God for his immense success in the secular music industry, arguing that on his own, he does not have the talent or appeal to crossover to the mainstream.
"I don't have [the talent or crossover appeal]," said Lecrae in a recent interview with Christian rap site Rapzilla regarding his close friend Kendrick Lamar's latest album "To Pimp A Butterfly".
"I don't accredit any of this to just my capability or talent. I think God is doing something far beyond my comprehension. So I don't understand it. I don't try to make a science out of it," added the rapper, who is currently on the "Anomaly Tour."
The rapper also discussed several "overtly Christian" artists--including Trip Lee, Tedashii, KB and Andy Mineo--he believes could, like himself, find success in the mainstream music industry.
"There's guys who are way better than me," he said. "There's guys who are more talented and more disciplined than I am. But for whatever reason God is using it. But I hope that more guys are able to infiltrate culture and have unique platforms. My ambition is to create room for more artists to shine light in a dark world."
He added, "It's in God's hands. If He uses them, amen. I'm grateful."
Lecrae, who is signed with his own independent label, Reach Records, gained nationwide attention after his album, "Anomaly," topped Billboard and sold 88,000 copies in week one. In addition to four Dove awards, the rapper also is the first hip hop artist to win the Grammy Best Gospel Album in 2013. He also won another Grammy in 2015 for for his song "Messengers."
However, Lecrae's biggest accomplishment, argues Daily Beast contributor Stereo Williams, is his impressive ability to "chi[p] away at mainstream hip-hop's prejudices towards Christianity-while at the same time breaking down the Christian misgivings about hip-hop."
"For a long time, because the music wasn't up to par, it marginalized the message," explains Mineo, who is featured on Lecrae's hit song, "Say I Won't" and opens for the rapper on his "Anomaly" tour. "Now, you put Lecrae out here-nominated for three Grammys; right next to Drake and Kendrick and Eminem and anybody else. So the music is banging and I think the message is weaved in there, too. They can't deny the artistry at this point. That's been helping that conversation. I have definitely seen not as much of an 'us vs. them' mentality anymore."
Lecrae's massive success partially stems from his shying away from the Christian music stereotype. In an interview with the Atlantic, the 35 year old rapper, whose lyrics focus on issues including slavery, adultery, and abortion, clarified that he is not a "Christian rapper," but a rapper who happens to be a Christian.
"I think listeners like to be challenged from time to time," Lecrae told The Boombox. "We're creative, we are innovative. I think our music should reflect that. I think when people listen to my music it's a reflection of who we are. We're human beings. We're made in God's image. We're creative, purposeful beings and I want my music to reflect that reality."