How Christian Rapper Lecrae Moore Changed Main-Stream Hip Hop Music Industry In 2014

( [email protected] ) Dec 29, 2014 07:04 PM EST
Hip Hop Artist Lecrae Moore
In 2012, Lecrae won the Grammy for Best Gospel Album with his album ''Gravity,'' and is nominated for Best Rap Performance at the 2015 Grammys. Photo: Reach Records.

Christian artist Lecrae Moore, better known as Lecrae, wowed the music world in 2014 with his No. 1 album, Anomaly, which simultaneously topped the Gospel Album charts and the Billboard 200.

In 2012, Lecrae won the Grammy for Best Gospel Album with his album "Gravity," becoming the first purely hip-hop artist to ever win the award.

This year, his hit single "All I need Is You" is nominated for Best Rap Performance at the 2015 Grammys--a once-again unprecedented feat in the world of Christian hip hop.

But 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 Andy Mineo, who is featured on Lecrae's latest hit, "Say I Won't." "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.

"His lyrics also defy the dominant mores of the genre," The Atlantic reported. "While Drake raps about his piles of cash in songs like 'Headlines' ... (Lecrae) mocks the materialism of most rap."

"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."

When asked about the major pitfalls that can come along with success, Lecrae says he isn't worried.

"As a rapper who is a devout Christian, you would think I would struggle or wrestle with compromise because a lot of hip-hop is full of violence and misogyny and so forth but it's not really a struggle for me because it's not my reality. It's not the life that I'm living," he told Billboard.

Lecrae's dedication to his faith combined with indisputable musical talent is, for the first time, making major waves in a category historically associated with violence, misogyny and hatred. And, it appears he's here to stay.

"[T]he rap game isn't so ashamed to praise Jesus anymore," concludes Williams.

"In a genre that prides itself on being "real," fans should be happy that Christian faith no longer has to hide in hip-hop's closet."

Tags : Lecrae, Lecrae Moore, Grammys, hip hop, rap, Christian Music