A while back one of my Facebook friends wrote a status update about feeling an earthquake. At the time, he was in North Carolina. I checked several major news sites and couldn’t find anything about an earthquake in North Carolina. By the time I made it back to Facebook, friends in Baltimore and D.C. were posting updates about the earthquake they had just felt. I went back to the major news sites. Still nothing. Around an hour later, the small earthquake that hit the east coast was their top story.
This taught me two things.
1. If something big happens, it will get out quickly.
2. Big stories have a way of getting out without the help of traditional media.
Yesterday I listened to Lecrae’s new CD, Gravity, and just like that earthquake, word is getting out, even without Hot 107.9 playing it four times an hour. Lecrae gets zero play from hip-hop radio stations, at least in the Atlanta market where I reside. I’ve never seen a huge billboard trying to sell me on Lecrae. In spite of that, when I went to bed Tuesday night, Gravity was the top selling hip-hop album on iTunes.
Hip-hop, at its core, is a counter-cultural form of music. More people hate it than love it. That’s sort of the point.
But somewhere along the way it lost its soul. You started seeing rappers on lunch boxes and selling Sprite. When I was a kid, Chuck D told me, “Don’t believe the hype.” Now that I’m an adult, Jay Z is campaigning for the president. Something just isn’t right.
And that’s what makes Lecrae great. He’s more authentic than the so-called authentic hip-hop stars because he truly is counter-cultural. The song Confe$$ions is a perfect example.
You out to make a killin’ but it never feels fufillin’
So they call and tell me Crae, this how I’m feelin’
Confessions of a millionaire
In a desert of songs about Louis Vuitton and Gucci, this one is an oasis.
Unlike a lot of Christian albums, Gravity does not sacrifice style for the sake of substance. Some artists act as though a song with a good beat and crazy samples is a sin. Violence and I Know highlight Lecrae’s ability to lay down a quality rhyme over an original beat. While other artists can afford to be lazy and rely solely on their name or publicity for 90% of the songs on their album, Lecrae simply creates original music that actually has something to say. Every song. Every album. With Gravity, we’re seeing him at the top of his game.
For most of my life, the Christian music industry has been about five years behind the mainstream. Lecrae, along with the other artists on his Reach Records label, is changing that. Hip-hop radio stations are busy playing the same artists saying the same message but Lecrae is going somewhere new. Without them. I’m just glad that we still get to come along for the ride.