This is pretty much part 2 to my blog posts about Lecrae’s ANOMALY tour. A few months ago, Family Christian Stores gave away some tickets to see Lecrae and guests for a handful of bloggers. As my kids have grown up on his music, I felt the desire and need to be there. God shined on me that day because I was one of the bloggers selected. Family Christian Stores provided free tickets to the concert in return for a single blog post and some pictures of the concert. And before I get into the concert information, Family Christian Stores is doing a fundraiser to help end human trafficking. Look up #FCchallenge to find out more info, but they are looking to raise $150,000. And during November 22-30, the earnings from shopping at Family Christian Stores will go to Destiny Rescue, an organization that helps fight human trafficking.
Lecrae has been a very ubiquitous name over the past year. He has been a feature article in many of the Christian and secular magazines. He made his acting debut in a movie. He has a new album.
He has a LOT of press out there about him.
And not all of the press is good press.
1 Thessalonians 5:21 – but test them all; hold on to what is good
I, myself, have found myself at time speaking negatively about some of the projects or lyrics that Lecrae has posted.
I read an article tonight by a very respected Christian organization that claimed that Lecrae HAS become ashamed of the Gospel.
But tonight’s concert reinforced in my mind that Lecrae is still very much sold out to Christ, although his approach to music and media has changed.
Let me explain.
As I read the lyrics to the songs in Lecrae’s Anomaly album, I found that in a lot of the lyrics, Christ is missing. Where once Lecrae was unashamedly Christian in his approach to music, now he is hiding that Gospel a little. Songs like Welcome to America, Nuthin’, and Dirty Water are all missing the redemption that comes through Christ. They start with a powerful message about society, and how it is screwed up, but that is where it stays, and, in my opinion, dies.
And this message has transcended to his interviews. While still being touted as a Christian rapper by the Christian community, Lecrae has started the shift away from associating himself with the Christian title on his music by claiming more than once in a recent interview that he is a “rapper who is a devout Christian.” There is a big difference between being a Christian rapper and a rapper who is a Christian. Subtle on the outside, but significant on the inside.
This change from Christian rapper to rapper who is Christian opens up the world for topics for Lecrae. It allows him to push the edge a little more. It allows him to make his music the way a mentor works with a disciple, messy.
There is nothing “clean” or “pretty” about the Christian faith.
It is very messy.
What is it that Paul says about becoming all things to all people? Oh yea,
1 Corinthians 9:19-23 – Though I am free and belong to no one, I have made myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible. To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews. To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law), so as to win those under the law. To those not having the law I became like one not having the law (though I am not free from God’s law but am under Christ’s law), so as to win those not having the law. To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some. I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings.
But Lecrae’s controversies are not why I am writing this article. I am writing it because last night I went to his concert. And, SPOILER ALERT, the concert was great!
But I need to give a quick disclaimer, while I thought the concert was very good, the venue for the concert was not. I went in with my girlfriend and 4 kids ranging in age from 11 to 15. When we got there, the only seats we could find were on the second level behind a bunch of people the kids could not see any of the concert. I felt really bad for them because for 3 hours they had to look at the back of peoples’ heads.
But the concert itself?
Psalm 150:6 – Let everything that has breath praise the Lord.
It started with DJ Promote (@DJPromote). He took the stage and set the scene for the rest of the night. The graphics that were flipping on the screens behind him danced in sync to the music that he was spinning. Kicking off with a rave sound, he ended his set with some high energy hip-hop.
After about a 10 minute intermission, Andy Mineo (@AndyMineo) hit the stage. I have to admit that I really didn’t think I would enjoy his show. I’ve been listening to a lot of his music lately on Pandora and just wasn’t that impressed.
But I was sorely mistaken!
Andy Mineo put on a show that was hands down amazing! He played mostly songs off his new EP, Neverland. They were hard hitting, gritty, and downright awesome. He even had special guest Trip Lee show up. For those who don’t know, Trip now lives in DC and is the pastoral assistant at Capitol Hill Baptist Church.
My daughter looked at me after Andy’s set and said, “I need his album!” So off we went to pick up his Neverland CD and so far she has listened to it at least 3 million times.
After about a 20 minute intermission, Lecrae (@Lecrae) took the stage. He walked the audience through a movie of his life. From a teenager whose dad was gone to the drugs to abortion with his girlfriend. Just when you felt the sadness creep in of hopelessness, Lecrae ends this half of the set with a video of him under water and emerging a new creation.
Once that was finished, he did a set for those out there who were with their significant others. He did an wedding party soundtrack with some remixes of those songs we all loved to dance to followed by a few of his own songs. The highlight was when he came upstairs to rap. He took a small stage that was about 20 feet from where we were standing. It gave us the best views all night and was one of the best parts of the concert.
Overall, musically, the sound was amazing. The crowd was engaged and everyone seemed to know all the songs and enjoy the track list.
But I want to finish this with one final piece. This has been publicized as a Christian concert. With all of the controversy surrounding Lecrae lately, I was worried that I would be walking into a theological nightmare.
But that wasn’t completely the case. Yes, not every song was a worship song, but Lecrae drove the message home that Christ is sitting on the throne of his heart. And while both DJ Promote and Andy Mineo didn’t really lead the listener to the risen Christ, Lecrae did a decent job of doing just that.
There were no deep theological points brought up in his monologues. Just simple comments about where his life was before he accepted Christ and what has happened since he accepted Christ.
I do want to challenge everyone to research the theology behind Lecrae, Andy Mineo and DJ Promote. It is important to know the message that you, or your kids in my case, will be getting when they hear the music.
But right now, I can say that I feel comfortable letting my middle and high schoolers listen to Lecrae.