In a recent episode of YouTube series Dead End Hip-Hop, the episode discusses “conscious” hip-hop returning to the mainstream. During the conversation, Lecrae’s name is brought up, but they deem him too Christian for the mainstream.
“Do you ever think Lecrae can kind of be that guy in the mainstream level?” one of the show’s guests asks the panel of speakers on the subject. At this point of the show they are speaking on Kanye West’s unexpected hit single “Jesus Walks.” The song was a smash success despite being all about Jesus.
One of the panel members feels Lecrae is “too Christian” and thinks the only way a Christian emcee can break through the mainstream is if they reach it with another song first. They use Kanye as an example of someone who had a few tracks out already before coming up with “Jesus Walks.” He was already popular, and they feel Lecrae is too established and known as a Christian to be taken seriously and make the jump. “It’s too late for Lecrae, he’s already got that stigma.”
“He can get bigger, but he won’t crossover,” he continued.
Lecrae is a rare breed as he is a combination of Christian and conscious hip-hop. He speaks clearly about a message in his music whether it is the gospel, or something that gets believers and non-believers alike to think about.
Dead End Hip-Hop argues that thought provoking conscious hip-hop will have a much harder time catching the ears of the mainstream listener because of the influx of poppy and watered down rap music that is prevalent today. Examples of what they are talking are: Common, Lupe Fiasco, Mos Def, A Tribe Called Quest, and Public Enemy among others. In today’s age people want to be entertained, not think about their lives through music.
Lecrae spoke about Christian music and secular music a few year’s ago at the Resurgence Conference. “We are still caught up in the reality that everything is broken up in two and if you go too far here you are going to get messed up,” he said. “There is a sacred-secular divide that hinders us from impacting culture.”
He also touched on the “Christian” label, which in his way of thinking could help him go against what Dead End Hip-Hop was saying. “I am a Christian. I am a rapper. But Christian is my faith, not my genre.”
Lecare is currently one of the largest rappers in the Christian music genre right now. His voice and message is already starting to seep through the cracks of the mainstream as last year he appeared in the BET Awards hip-Hop Cypher.