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Lecrae - Topic

Gravity Play

Dropping "I've seen more trials than Cochrane" within the first minute of his 2012 album helps solidify Lecrae's reputation as just about the coolest dude in Christian hip-hop, but Gravity doesn't stop there. This crossover-minded effort follows two conceptual efforts (2010's Rehab and 2011's Rehab: The Overdose) and the rapper sounds rejuvenated by the idea, vamping like Jay-Z before launching into an infectious and alive title track, and ready to confront rappers who front ("You ain't shootin'/Ain't killin', Ain't doin'") on the grinding, Southern-flavored highlight "Fakin'." For fans of mainstream hip-hop, "Mayday" is a must have with underground don Big K.R.I.T. and American Idol season ten contestant Ashthon Jones joining Lecrae on this DJ Khalil-produced slice of buttery soul, but stick around for "Confessions" and hip-hop's love of bling is brought down by a difficult yet compelling number where the rapper lays out his Christian-based argument in the unexpected, brittle style of a beatnik poet or Saul Williams on Def Poetry Jam. Best of all, he makes all these genre experiments and jumps in style sound effortless and natural, all as the Lord's word is reinforced by stories of personal experience, both moving and devastating. No doubt, Gravity is a success, and while Rehab is the more rewarding album in the end, this one is more persuasive and immediate, making it an easy entry point into this gifted artist's discography. ~ David Jeffries, Rovi

Rehab Play

Lecrae’s fourth studio effort comes with a motto, "The Christian life is an entrance into rehab." If that’s shocking, beware that this is the driving idea behind this conceptual album, which begins with a Christian checking in to rehab and then, through a series of well-written, well-produced songs, tells the story of how he got there. Helping the rapper deliver his message are special guests like Anthony Evans, Tedashii, and P.O.D.’s lead singer Sonny Sandoval, who contributes to the album’s reggae-fueled highlight “Children of the Light.” Check the anti-siren song “Kila” for examples of Lecrae’s growth as a lyricist (“The silky smooth seduction just manipulates my mind/Her farcical fabrication is fueling my fascination/While I'm intoxicated she starts her assassination”), and while he grows more humble with each release, check “Background” for some of that cocksure and brash style that launched his career (“If ignorance is bliss, it's 'cause she never heard of this.”) ~ David Jeffries, Rovi

Rehab: The Overdose Play

With the title to his 2011 release, rapper Lecrae stretches his “the Christian life is an entrance into rehab" metaphor till it breaks, so think of Rehab: The Overdose as Rehab: The Addendum or Rehab: The Leftovers. Don’t take the latter as an insult, either, because this is a high-quality set of tracks, just ones that didn’t make it on his 2010 album Rehab. Expect the same intense worship and wordplay, but this time with fewer guests, a little less polish, and rough transitions from track to track. Of course, Lecrae’s rabid fan base can’t right click fast enough when a track leaks, and this set gives them the opportunity to hear their favorite wordsmith in more casual surroundings, and offers proof that the magic doesn’t happen in post-production. Not the place to start, but recommended for anyone who devoured the Grammy-nominated Rehab. ~ David Jeffries, Rovi

Church Clothes, Vol. 2 Play

The sequel to his 2012 mixtape Church Clothes, this set -- also hosted by Don Cannon -- follows Lecrae's Grammy-winning, Top Five album Gravity. As with those previous releases, this is packed with collaborations from the Christian and secular hip-hop worlds, while Lecrae, a leader in his genre, delivers typically authoritative rhymes regarding a wide spectrum of issues. Notable tracks here include "Devil in Disguise" (an introspective blues rocker with Kevin Ross on the chorus), "I'm Turnt" (one of K.E. on the Track's sparse productions), and "Let It Whip" (featuring a Dazz Band-sampling beat from David Banner, as well as a guest appearance from Paul Wall)., Rovi
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