Lecrae is one of today's most successful Christian rap artists. He doesn't just have cool beats and catchy lyrics, his songs are full of Scripture and he has a strong desire for the men of this world to Man UP! interlínc had the pleasure of talking to Lecrae recently - check it out.
interlinc: How did you come to know Christ? Who have been the main influences musically and spiritually on your life? Lecrae: I had gotten into trouble - financial trouble, trouble with other people, trouble with girls - I was just running myself into a dead end. So I'm thinking, “I'm seventeen, let me do the mature, adult thing, and go to church.” Grandma was a Christian, so the roots were established through her. By grace there was a young lady that I went to high school with that invited me to a Bible study. I went, and I had never seen Christians who dressed like me or talked like me, so I thought Christians were aliens from another planet! When I saw those kids I said, “Oh you guys are human!” They loved me genuinely and that's really what started it. I later went to a conference with them where I heard the gospel and became a Christian. Musically and spiritually, Hip-Hop artist “The Ambassador” had a profound impact on me.
interlinc: How did you go from being a latch-key kid to a professional musician? Lecrae: I would sit at home for hours while my mother was at work. I had to use my imagination. I'd sit in front of the television so much. She wouldn't allow me to watch television and she would see if the TV was warm when she got come home, to so I had to figure out what I could do with my time. I started writing, experimenting, and just trying to be creative. I knew I had a passion for the arts, but we didn't recognize it. It was one of my fifth-grade teachers who recognized it and suggested to my mother that I be put in a special class. That class led me to audition for a special school, so I actually went to a performing arts middle school. That's really where I started to hone my writing skills. I kept at it and always knew it was a passion I wanted to pursue. God strategically placed me with my friend and co-owner of Reach Records years later and the rest is history.
interlinc: I have heard it said that Christian rap artists are today's youth culture theologians. What are your thoughts? Lecrae: I hope that we are an example of what Biblical churches and leaders can produce. We are not pastors nor do we want to replace or diminish such an honorable role. We have a unique platform to express our views on life and truth - scholars we've sat under or books we've read shaped our work. Our goal is to point people to churches and resources to grow them not to replace those sources.
interlinc: What do you hope that high school students get from your songs on the new album? Lecrae:“Gravity” is loosely based on Ecclesiastes; I think what Solomon was trying to do was bring some weight to life and that's really what I want to do, to paint some sober pictures. You know, there is a sobering picture when you're overwhelmed with all of the hurt and the pain in this world. There's a sober picture of how it's only for a short period of time, it's short-lived, or that we still have Jesus. So that's what I would call a weighty part, a gravitational pull to remind us of who we are in Jesus.
interlinc: How has being a main player in your genre of music created ministry opportunities for you? Lecrae: At first I was just one of the guys who was eager to learn. In this season of life I'm applying a lot of that and people are seeing the fruit of it - which leads them to see me as a voice of influence. Being that voice has helped me shed light (especially in urban culture) on how Christianity redefines every aspect of life.
interlinc: We featured your Man UP project with our Youth Leaders Only members - what has that project been able to accomplish? Tell us about what you and your small men's group are studying now. Lecrae: Man UP was a campaign that included an album, a short film, a tour, and a conference. The tour sold out, the album has been incredibly successful, and the film is attached to the album so people have been watching it and being encouraged. And at the conference we anticipated about 1,000 people and 2,200 men showed up; three generations - the grandfathers, fathers, and sons. It was mind blowing. Currently the group of men I've been meeting with just finished looking at Jesus' life as a man and how to follow him.
interlinc: How can you tell when a concert or song has been a ministry success? Lecrae: Success to me is defined as both Impact and Influence. Impact is when you leave in a dent in the culture that hits hard, maybe brings conviction, enrichment, joy, or laughter. Influence is when that conviction turns into commitment. When people are now following and living out truths due your work that's success.