Lecrae is one the biggest rappers in the industry, who just so happens to be a Christian, and has been on a major rise in the rap genre. Lecrae is also the president, co-owner, and co-founder of Reach Records. His story is one that isn’t told enough but deserves to be known.
Lecrae Moore was on October 9, 1979, in Houston, Texas and was raised his single mother. He moved often, living in places like San Diego & Dallas. His only church experiences would come from going with his grandmother, writing it off as “for old people” and “not for me”. He never knew his father, who became a drug addict. When he was 8, Lecrae was sexually molested by a female babysitter, which he believes affected his views on sexuality in a negative way and influenced his promiscuous lifestyle. He experienced abuse and neglect throughout his childhood and would use his above average rap abilities as a source of significance. Lecrae wasn’t allowed to watch rap videos on TV, but he would sneak them in, looking up to them as role models. According to him, “There were no Martin Luther Kings or Malcolm Xs, they had all passed away so I had Tupac.” He also began looking up to gangsters after being shown a gun by his uncle and turned to a life of crime. He remembers taking a BB gun and standing in the street pointing it to a car, frightening the female driver, simply for fun. When Lecrae was 16 years old, he began taking drugs and fighting and was arrested for stealing. He eventually ended up on a gang list. According to him, Lecrae has tried just about every drug there is except heroin and crack cocaine. According to CNN, he became a drug dealer and used his grandmother’s bible as a good luck charm. After being arrested for drug possession, the officer saw the Bible and let Lecrae go on a promise that he would agree to live by it. He eventually turned from drugs to alcohol consumption and a party lifestyle and became a “misfit of a person.” He has described himself during this period as a thrill-seeker, he would pull stunts such as jumping from a third-story building, and gained the nickname “Crazy ‘Crae”. (Wikipedia) His mother urged him to read the Bible and he remembers tearing pages out and throwing them on the floor because he couldn’t wrap his brain around it. I rejected it a second time. He began drinking, smoking, and sleeping around more in hopes of finding happiness. When he was just 17, Lecrae found himself in a dead end, struggling personally, financially, and relationally. He decided to do what he considered the mature thing and attended church, at both his own desires and his grandmother’s wishes. A girl in his class attended the same church and invited him to a Bible study in which he realized the attendees were people like him. There he met his future wife, Darragh. At age 19, Lecrae Moore accepted Christ into his life and decided to live for Him.
“It wasn’t overnight; [I] spent a lot of time making bad decisions.” – Lecrae Moore
Walking The Walk
While attending a youth conference, Lecrae was wowed by a band named The Cross Movement.
“[I saw] guys who had been shot from being in gangs, girls who were extremely promiscuous in the past, I see rappers, dancers and singers; I see people who came from the same background I came from, and they still embodied who they were culturally, but they were all in love with Jesus and I had never seen that before.”
He listened to speaker Pastor James White, who spoke on the Crucifixion and how Christians are bought with a price by God. Lecrae was instantly rocked to his core by the message. Later, Lecrae was driving on a highway when he turned too quickly and his car went into a roll. He had no seatbelt and the roof and windshield of the car caved in, his glasses were molded into the frame of the car, but he survived completely uninjured. He cites this incident as the one which convinced him to commit his life to Christ. He returned to his college, University of North Texas, with a printed testimony to hand out. He began performing at juvenile centers and realized it was what he wanted to do, receiving compliments that his music had “hope and encouragement”. In 2002, Lecrae accidentally impregnated his then-girlfriend and they decided to abort the baby rather than face a scandal. Lecrae deeply regrets the decision to this day.
Real Talk After The Music Stops
5 years after he became a Christian, Lecrae co-founded Reach Records with his friend Ben Washer. At age 25, he released his debut album, Real Talk, in 2005. A year later, it was re-released by Cross Movement Records and reached No. 29 on the Billboard Gospel Albums chart and stayed there for 12 weeks. Real Talk was also nominated for 2007 Stellar Award. He was also one of the founding members of the rap group 116 Clique, who released their debut album, The Compilation Album, in 2005. In 2006, Lecrae released his second studio album, After The Music Stops, which debuted at No. 5 on the Billboard Gospel Albums chart, No. 7 on the Billboard Christian Albums chart, and No. 16 on Billboards Heatseeker Album chart. He also received a Dove award nomination for the album and his song “Jesus Muzik” featuring Trip Lee. In 2007, the 116 Clique released their second album, 13 Letters, which reached No. 10 on the Billboard Gospel Albums chart and No. 29 on the Christian Albums chart. 116 Clique also released a remix EP entitled Amped, which peaked at No. 24 on the Gospels Album chart.
In 2008, Lecrae dropped his third studio effort, Rebel, and entered the Billboard charts at No. 60 with 9,800 units sold. He held the top spot on the Christian Music Albums chart for two straight weeks, a record for hip-hop albums. Rebel also charted No. 2 on the Christian Albums chart and No. 15 on the on the Top Independent Albums chart. In 2009, he received a nomination at the 40th Dove awards, as did “Joyful Noise” by Flame, a son featuring Lecrae. He also made his film debut in OHTV’s documentary Uprise Presents: Word from the Street.
The Rehab Series
In 2010, Lecrae released his tribute single to the 2010 Haiti earthquake survivors, “Far Away,” followed by “Amp It Up”. Upon its release, Lecrae’s 4th studio album, Rehab, hit No. 16 on the Billboard 200 chart, making it one of the highest selling Christian albums of all time. In 2011, Lecrae released the sequel to Rehab, Rehab: The Overdose, his fifth album. The album featured other rappers such as Swoope and Thi’sl. The album debuted at No. 15 on the Billboard 200. In the fall of 2011, Lecrae released Rehab: Deluxe Edition. This concluded the Rehab Series. On the same day, 116 Clique released their fourth album, Man Up.
The Church Clothes Trilogy
In 2012, Lecrae released his first mixtape, Church Clothes, later released on iTunes as an EP. His music video for the title track featured cameos from Kendrick Lamar and DJ Premier. In 2013, he released the sequel, Church Clothes Vol. 2, which featured rappers such as Propaganda, Andy Mineo, Novel, Tedashii, & Derek Minor. Both of these mixtape were successes on multiple Billboard charts. In January 2016, Lecrae released the previously unannounced third installment of his mixtape series, Church Clothes 3. The mixtape featured Propaganda, N’dambi, E-40, & KB.
In 2012, Lecrae released his sixth studio album, Gravity, which featured artists ranging from Andy Mineo & Derek Minor to Tenth Avenue North & Mali Music. Gravity debuted at No. 3 on the Billboard 200, with 72,000 units sold.The album also debuted at No. 1 on the Christian, Gospel, Independent, and Rap Album charts, No. 3 on the Digital Albums chart, and 24 on the Canadian Albums Chart. After the iTunes deluxe version of the album hit No. 1 on that vendors charts, and the regular version at number No. 2, Time wrote an article about Lecrae and his success with the album.
Anomaly & Current Status
In 2014, Lecrae released his seventh studio album, Anomaly, which featured Andy Mineo, Crystal Nicole, Kari Jobe, & for King & Country. t debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 with over 88,000 copies sold through the first week. It is the first time an album tops both the Billboard 200 and the Gospel Albums chart. Lecrae also became the fifth artist following Chris Tomlin (2013), TobyMac (2012), LeAnn Rimes (1997) and Bob Carlisle(1997) to score a number one album on both Christian Albums and the Billboard 200. Anomaly also marks the sixth time that Lecrae topped the Gospel Albums chart and the fifth time he topped the Christian Albums chart. In its second week of sales, the album sold 31,000 copies, bringing the total to 120,000 copies sold. In its third week of sales, the album sold another 17,000 copies, bringing the total to 137,000 copies. As a reward to fans for their support in helping his album go No. 1 on Billboard, Lecrae released a new song, “Non-Fiction”, as a free download on September 17. The song was subsequently released on October 21, 2014 in the iTunes store. In 2016, Lecrae released a memoir titled Unashamed. Currently, Lecrae remains the President of Reach Records, which currently has a roster of rappers made up of Andy Mineo, Gawvi, KB, Tedashii, & Trip Lee, as well as himself. In May 2016, Lecrae signed with Columbia Records, which will release records in conjunction with Reach. He is currently on tour with Switchfoot and I will be attending their Moorhead, Minnesota, concert this Saturday.
Lecrae is one of the most elite rappers in the game today and ranks up in the likes of Eminem & Kendrick Lamar. He is unashamed to proclaim his faith and speaks at conferences across the country. In terms of rappers, and role models in general, he is one of the highest among them. He has been speeding up increasingly and shows no signs of stopping.