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Atlanta's LECRAE
Is A Man On Fire

 By Juan Vidal

  He's many things, sure. He's also in flames. This husband, father, artist, behind it all he's a person, just a man. And although that's all he is or will be, people gather—in lines that span blocks and blocks—to watch him.

  I witnessed it once, from backstage, with the eyes in my own skull. The show. A towering figure commanding a crowd, this multitude mouthing his every word. He made them drunk with something, they believed him. His emotion. That was just a few years ago. Now things are crazier and escalating. But the man who is Lecrae Moore is still only a man.

  But if you check out the Billboard Gospel Music charts, you'll easily find him at #1, #2 and #8. And if that's not enough, turn the page to the Contemporary Christian charts and he's also there at #2, #11 and #15. A rare crossover feat with "All I Need Is You," "Nuthin'" and "Fear," all preceding the release of his seventh album, "Anomaly," due out September 9.

  It's true that Lecrae built something special practically from the dirt. Not alone, but you understand. With the help of a tight circle, he's managed to take hold of hip-hop's consciousness and inject it with something impassioned. His drive has gone uncontested to those who know. In his ascent, the Atlanta emcee has become the face and voice of a movement. And that movement has a name: 116.

“I like to rally people together,” Lecrae tells me over the phone. He's just wrapped up his Music Matters showcase at the BET Experience and is getting ready to head to Hong Kong for an event. “Times are changing,” he says. “I'm not afraid anymore.”

  Like many of his peers, the man's got ambition. Given his tour schedule, steady musical output, and growing film credits, Lecrae is part of a generation of artists that has nearly forfeited rest altogether. However, that's where the similarities go and die. See, there's something different here, something his fans feel but might struggle to pinpoint. Lecrae's motivation doesn't come across as self-seeking, he's not enamored with or swayed by skirts and endless earthen treasures. And while he's no perfect being, his aim is to redirect the attention outward toward something grander and more altruistic.

  “Honestly, I'm so tired of the redundancy," the 34-year-old rapper says. "The world needs artists that are willing to provoke. Let's talk about issues: education, racism, faith, fatherlessness. These are the things that inform what I do.”

  The bare bones: Six albums in, Lecrae's reach has expanded in directions not even he could have predicted. His seventh full-length LP, "Anomaly," is due out September 9. It's the follow up to 2012's Grammy Award-winning album Gravity and last year's Church Clothes 2 mixtape, which propelled him to where he is today. Thing is, he's in a position to transform the culture as you see it, or at least do his part. Whether you believe it even needs transforming is moot.

   In the music industry, there's always this notion of “making it.” I wonder what that looks like to him, if he feels he's arrived.

  “I think this is a dangerous mindset," he says. "And each day I have to fight for contentment. There was a time when I was just happy to pay my bills doing this. I want to use my gifts and live there, in that space: content.”

  What I actually want to know is if all this busyness and running around can be a burden. He fires back, without pause: “Yes, it can be.” Then there's a deep silence, the kind like when a man is thinking. I hear a voice, his road manager, I think, someone going on about breakfast. Lecrae draws a breath. “Look, it's an animal you have to tame. You do. My body hates it. This type of work takes a lot of your time. I mean, recently I was talking to a renowned filmmaker and he told me he's missed the last seven years of his son's life. I often have to ask myself what it is I'm chasing. Our ambitions can sometimes be unhealthy.”

  “It can be addicting though, right?” I ask. “The chase. There's always a new thing to conquer, another reward.” “There is”, he adds. “But you can't build your house there. It never ends.”

  No, Lecrae didn't go to that pool party he was invited to. Again, the man is spoken for and he takes that seriously. In a rap world that prides itself on cheap thrills, he wears his monogamy like a crown. He understands full well the traps and perils of a man on the road. And he does what he can to steer clear of them.

  True to his upcoming album's name, Lecrae is an anomaly. He exists on some suspended planet, between the sacred and secular. And though he's sold tons of records and packed out arenas across the world, his approach is completely alien to most.

  “I realize there's a tension,” he says. “But that's why we all need people that will hold us up, help us to stand our ground.” I ask if he worries about failing, letting people down. He tells me about a song on Anomaly called “Fear,” and that yes, he thinks about it every day. “Still, fear fuels my faith.”

  This new album, he says he went into it alone. And he tells me about some of the collaborations he considered—Kendrick Lamar and Kanye West—but that he decided not to pursue them on account of his wanting to prove some things to himself. I don't believe him. I ask why he would divert from some of the names he'd just mentioned. "Let me finish," he insists.

 Lecrae says he wanted to delve into certain themes on his own, and he talks about textures and soundscapes, about coming into his skin as an artist.

   He says he didn't like some of the content on Gravity, that he was still experimenting during that period, looking for his true voice. What he's doing now is bigger, Lecrae tells me, and more honest. He says he thinks people will be liberated by it. The world has a first taste on the Gawvi [roduced lead single, "Nuthin," which has already hit the top of both the Billboard Contemporary Christian and Gospel music charts.

  Have you ever seen a man on fire? Get this: What Lecrae has—confidence, wisdom, clarity of mind and mission—he's cultivated through time. If a man is shaped by his experiences, how he uses those experiences will determine his effectiveness in life and work. There are reasons the guy is winning. And since he's not one for aimless pursuits, the embers will burn for only as long as he'll allow it. He's in the thick of it, burning bright. And I just know he won't be consumed.

(from Vibe magazine)

More About Lecrae

  An unlikely story stands behind the man known to many as Lecrae.
  From the south side of Houston, to a leader in the movement of urban reform, a rocky road provides a window into the grace he experienced through out his life--with every situation molding him into the artist and leader that he is today.

  Born and raised by his mother, in a poor community, Lecrae Moore moved around a lot, giving him the versatile background and cultural awareness he carries with him. San Diego, Denver, and Dallas have once been home to him and the street life he idolized and pursued. Along the way, like many in the inner city, he took to rapping as a way of communicating his thoughts. It wasn’t until after high school that his hobby became a passion, and Jesus Christ redeemed his Hip-Hop background.

  At 19-years-old, at the encouragement of a Christian leader, he had attended a conference and heard James White delivering the message. In that moment, sitting in a chair, his world was flipped upside down as the Holy Spirit convicted him of his sin and need for a Savior. Almost instantly, his renewed heart spilled over as he printed his testimony and passed it out across the University of North Texas campus. The next five years included many struggles and victories before he teamed up to found Reach Records, releasing his first album at the age of 25.

  Calling Dallas home, Lecrae had remained content using his gifts of speaking and rapping while volunteering at a juvenile detention center, but the Lord had different plans, and he soon began working on his debut album. Pouring out a genuine discussion of life issues and a passionate, unashamed pursuit of Jesus Christ, Lecrae released Real Talk.  Listeners responded by quickly noting him as an emcee that meets people where they are by delivering transparent, relatable, and impactful messages.

  As Lecrae continued to make his mark in the music industry, he realized the stage wasn’t enough. He wanted to see a deeper impact in urban culture. There needed to be a culturally relevant and biblically solid resource center to help train the next generation, so he co-founded ReachLife Ministries in 2005. The non-profit organization exists to partner with other organizations in equipping local leaders with culturally relevant tools and media projects designed to strengthen communities with the word of God. ReachLife is another vital piece in the larger vision of seeing a reformation in urban culture.

  Since then, Lecrae has released the groundbreaking album After the Music Stops and the first Christian Rap album to ever sit in the No. 1 position on Billboard’s Top Gospel Charts--Rebel. Led by the
 classic single‚ “Jesus Musik,” After the Music Stops slowly spread to the mainstream market with other hits such as “Praying For You” and “Send Me.” Aimed at building an audience of disciples, the album sat on Soundscan’s Christian Hip Hop/R&B chart for two years after releasing in 2006. While Rebel, released in 2008, also garnered much success--claiming the No. 3 position on the iTunes Rap chart.

  A graduate of University of North Texas, Lecrae now resides in Atlanta with his wife and children.  He and his wife are small group leaders at Blueprint Church, and his passion for impacting urban culture persists. With three successful albums to his name, touring worldwide along with the 116 Clique, and inspiring a generation of young believers across the globe, Lecrae is humbled by his position in leading others towards Christ. His hope is that Reach’s impact will spread far beyond simply the music and into the lives of individuals across the world, ultimately exalting Jesus Christ.

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LECRAE
"All I Need Is You"
(from Anomaly)

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See Lecrae's "All I Need Is You" Video -  Click Here

The album will feature appearances from Andy Mineo, Kari Jobe, For King and Country and Crystal Nicole. The cover art is basically a graphic of Lecrae's face. This will be the rapper's first full length studio album since 2012's Grammy-award winning Gravity. He also released the "Church Clothes 2" free mixtape in between both projects. Includes the hits,"Nuthin," and "Fear."

LECRAE
Gravity

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Lecrae has his finger on the pulse and beat of the American church! Using hip-hop styles, wit, and irony, he moves believers and pop culture closer to Christ. Includes "The Drop," "Walk with Me," "Free from It All," "Fallin' Down," "Fakin'," "Violence," "Mayday," "Confe$$ions," "Buttons," "Power Trip," "I Know," "Tell the World," "Lucky Ones," and the title track.
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