It’s easy to dismiss Lecrae as “that Christian rapper” if you’ve never actually taken the time to listen to him.
Blending aromas of early Kanye flows (yeah Kanye) with messages almost exclusively about following Jesus, Houston’s Lecrae Moore has been deep frying his verses in vats of southern style for the better part of a decade. His work has been consistently underrated in terms of critical attention, outside of specifically targeted Christian and hip hop outlets, but with Gravity, he’s given us something that can no longer be ignored. Verses connect like a compact flurry of punches, beats are unanimously creative, production is slick without being distracting, and guest appearances are used strategically and to high effect.
Drawing from a background of living fast and reckless, Lecrae is never at a loss for subjects to write about through the cultural lens of hip hop. On Gravity, he raps about everything from fame to self image to money to partying, but he ties it all together handily with the theme of gravity – the weight of the world’s perils and the uniformity with which it affects us all. Which is not to say that Lecrae is straying from the gospel message he’s clung to since the beginning of his career; his testimony is as central to his material as it’s always been, as you’ll find most clearly stated in “Tell the World” and “Lucky Ones”. But Gravity showcases more aggression than ever; the tenacity with which he attacks these verses reflects the confidence of a 32-year-old at the top of his game, better than he’s ever been and busting at the seams to get his message out.
Whether it’s “The Drop (Intro)” leading off with a Kanyesque “HAH” and some Eau de West flows, or the Roots-like percussion sections of “Gravity” and “Mayday,” the latter of which features Big K.R.I.T. as a guest rapper, Gravity isn’t afraid to give nods to other artists, but the flavor on most tracks is uniquely Lecrae. Bass lines pound, drum machines skitter; WELCOME TO THE SOUTH. “Free From It All” sounds especially like a Soundtrack to Houston (or Madden 2013).
Across the board, lyrics display more than flashes of brilliance and wit; Lecrae is adept at conveying everything from swagger to humble repentance, and this impressive range is one of the many facets that makes Lecrae’s latest so impressive. You want poetry? You want passion? You want social commentary? You want weight? Gravity delivers in spades.
(1) The Drop (Intro)
(2) Gravity (feat. J.R.)
(3) Walk With Me (feat. Novel)
(4) Free From It All (feat. Mathai)
(5) Falling Down (feat. Swoope & Trip Lee)
(8) Mayday (feat. Big K.R.I.T. & Ashthon Jones)
(11) Power Trip (feat. Pro, Sho Baraka & Andy Mineo)