Monday, June 18, 2012

Album Review: "Church Clothes" by Lecrae

Release Date: May 10, 2012
Genre: Hip-Hop
Rating: 5/5 Stars

Grammy-nominated and dove award winning hip-hop artist Lecrae is back with a free mixtape directed mainly towards mainstream audience. Lecrae wants to use this mixtape to let new fans know more about him without having to buy an album. The meaning of the title of Church Clothes is that God takes us as we are; we do not need to “fix ourselves up” to make ourselves worthy enough for him. Though the mixtape may be directed towards nonbelievers, Christian fans will still find much substance in the lyrics of these songs.

Church Clothes begins strongly with the anthem-style “Co-Sign” which gives the listener an idea of what the mixtape is all about. Lecrae lets us all know that while his music is Christian, it is still hip-hop: “Hi, Hip-Hop / Don’t act like you don’t know me / We got the same momma / Don’t you try to disown me!” This’l makes a guest appearance on “APB,” the title of the song referring to the police’s APB broadcast containing information about wanted people. Lecrae uses this to represent that his life has changed so much that those who knew his old self are putting out an APB to find the “old Lecrae.” The title track on
the mixtape is spoken from the point of view of a non-Christian who is turned off by the hypocrisy in the church. “All these folks is hyprocrites / And that’s why I ain’t at church.”

In “Cold World,” Lecrae talks about this cold world filled with drugs, adultery, and immorality. However, he finished the track by stating, “I know Someone who can change the weather forever.” Along with Tedashii and Dre Murray, Lecrae expresses hope in “Welcome to H-Town” that God will cause a positive change to occur in Lecrae’s hometown of Houston, Texas. On a softer note, “Inspiration” contains a single, long verse from Lecrae who reflects his change from his old ways.

Lecrae admits in “Rise” that all the secular influence on the radio, it is hard for a nonbeliever to rise from it all and become a Christian, but Lecrae says, “God made you and He rose for you / So you rise.” No Malice joins Lecrae on “Darkest Hour,” a song that features a strong drum beat and a message of conquering temptations, and that God will provide a sunrise in our darkest hours.
Perhaps the most unique track on the mixtape is “Black Rose” which features both fast and moderate paced lyrics. The black rose in the song is someone without support and receives hate from around her, but God is the Gardener Who gives her the defense mechanisms she needs. “The Price of Life” features Andy Mineo, a smooth beat, and a warning to girls to not buy into the lies the world gives them. In “Special,” Lecrae lets his wife know how much he loves her and how he wishes to stay with her forever: “Can't wait to date you when you sixty and your hair is gray.”

Lecrae raps in “No Regrets” about living a good Christian life with no regrets, staying strong through pain and staying away from sin. He then expresses his strong desire in “Gimme A Second” to share with people the gospel. Lecrae makes some strong statements in “Long Time Coming” (which feature Swoope), my favorite being, Some people are so focused on the road to success / They don't see their whole family laying dead on the tracks / I rather seize to have my lyrics spread over tracks / And put some family photos on the walls instead of plaques.”

“Misconception” has four verses and three guest singers, Propoganda, Braille, and Odd Thomas, all of them rapping about misconceptions the world has given us. This is followed by the fun, upbeat song “Spazz” in which Lecrae again talks about spreading the gospel and looking for conversion in the nonbelievers. As the mixtape begins to close, Lecrae raps in “Sacrifice” about the sacrifices he makes as a Christian and the sacrifice Christ mad for us. Finally, Lecrae wraps up Church Clothes with the very upbeat “Rejects” with the final words stating that Lecrae wants to be a reject, just as Jesus was a reject.

Church Clothes features familiar guest artists as well as terrific beats and lyrics that both Christians and non-Christians can relate to. The hip-hop is a newer sound from Lecrae, sporting a more raw sound. There is absolutely no reason to not download this free mixtape. It contains some of the best hip-hop songs of the year and is totally worth the listen!

Download your own free copy of Church Clothes by going here.

Top 3 Songs
  1. Church Clothes
  2. Spazz
  3. Co-Sign
  1. Co-Sign (Prod by Heat Academy)
  2. APB ft Thi'sl (Prod by Charlie Heat Sarah J)
  3. Church Clothes (Prod by Wit)
  4. Cold World ft Tasha Catour (Prod by Street Symphony)
  5. Welcome to H-Town ft Tedashii & Dre Murray (Prod By Wit)
  6. Inspiration (Prod by Wit)
  7. Rise (Prod by 9th Wonder)
  8. Darkest Hour ft No Malice (Prod by ThaInnaCircle)
  9. Black Rose (Prod by Tyshane)
  10. The Price of Life ft Andy Mineo & Co Campbell (Prod by Symbolic One S1 )
  11. Special ft Lester L2 Shaw (Prod by ThaInnaCircle)
  12. No Regrets ft Suzy Rock (Prod by Big Juice & Street Symphony)
  13. Gimme A Second (Prod by Boi-1da)
  14. Long Time Coming ft Swoope (Prod by 9th Wonder)
  15. Misconception ft Propaganda, Braille, & Odd Thomas
  16. Spazz (Prod by Charlie Heat Sarah J)
  17. Sacrifice (Prod by Red On The Beat Sarah J)
  18. Rejects ft Christon Gray (Prod by Tha Kracken!)

1 comment:

Jesselyn said...

Another enjoyable detailed review! Keep up the good work, Justin!