Lecrae Moore is a Grammy award-winning hip hop artist, a record producer, a father and president of the non-profit organization ReachLife Ministries. He is also a devoted Christian, who has redefined what audiences expect from the Christian music genre because while his lyrics are free from profanity and often focus on his faith, they are by no means sanitized.
The Houston rapper, who is the first Christian hip hop artist to reach No. 1 on the Billboard Gospel chart, says that his music is not necessarily Christian music, but his faith as a Christian is evident in his work.
“A Christian is noun. A Christian is a person. I function, I live life as a Christian and me living life as a Christian doesn’t mean I’m a sanitized person,” Lecrae told CNN. “It means that I readily admit I’m a jacked up person and I need a savior.”
Lecrae’s lyrics are raw, passionate and often deeply personal, as he addresses a wide range of issues— from being stereotyped as a black man and experiencing institutionalized racism, to opening up about the pain he felt after he drove a former girlfriend to get an abortion in the song “Good, Bad, Ugly” from his 2014 album “Anomaly.”
Here is how the lyrics go:
“Should I sacrifice this life to keep my vanity and live nice?/ And she love and trust me so much that whatever I say, she’d probably oblige
But I was too selfish with my time/ Scared my dreams were not gonna survive/ So I dropped her off at that clinic / That day, a part of us died.”
Still, Lecrae, who released his third installment of his “Church Clothes” mixtape series this week, is no preacher.
“My views as a Christian means there’s moral plumb line that I’m fighting to adhere to … it’s not say this is the way the country’s going to run and things are going to be,” Lecrae said. “Honestly, what Jesus was about, was laying his life down for the marginalized who didn’t have it all together.”
And as candidates like Donald Trump and Ted Cruz duke it out in the fight for evangelical voters, Lecrae says that Christians, like other groups, are often stereotyped and what a Christian wants in the nation’s next president is not necessarily what politicians assume.
READ: Trump and Cruz: The populist vs. the preacher
“For a lot of people, groups, Christians included, issues are homogenized and so to be a Christian I’m either this staunch conservative Republican or I’m this tree hugging liberal,” Lecrae said. “You’re stereotyped. It’s almost assumed that people know what your issues are going to be.”
It’s a problem, he said, that extends to civil rights as well.
“It’s unfortunate that myself, as a black man, cannot care about the issues that impact the black community without being seeing as a race-baiter or without being seen as someone who doesn’t care about any other ethnic groups,” Lecrae said.
Watch Lecrae open up about his involvement in #BlackLivesMatter protests following the shooting death of Michael Brown in Ferguson in the video above and check out more from the series.