By Charles Longo @icharleslongo
#1 on itunes. Co-signs and collabos from heavy hitters Big K.R.I.T, DJ Premier,Kendrick Lamar. A forerunner is his genre, Lecrae has constantly pushed full steam ahead with well rounded projects. This album shows growth really taking effect. As we stand on the cutting edge of creativity, debates surrounding tired issues are slowly starting to finally lose their steam. Gravity has everyone watching the impact of a culture engaged and looking for something more. Now, granted,its hard to gauge the response with just a week out…then I check itunes,facebook,twitter, hip hop websites….People are celebrating his journey and actually buying his music. Gasp!! That’s how it should be. After The Don Cannon hosted “Church Clothes” turned heads with a heavy production track arsenal (9th wonder, Boi 1da,Wit,to name a few) hot on the heels comes Gravity. Let me speak on the importance of this record first and foremost. The impact being made is not so much about the “popularity” rise of Christian music as it is just engaging the culture and impacting lives both behind the scenes and publicly. That’s what this type of music is supposed to do. Music with a simple solution. 2+2=4. Hope. Joy. You can be saved. We love you. We happen to make good music too.
Those of you that don’t know Lecrae just check his itunes. Numbers don’t lie and this record proves to be his biggest. The main key here is that it is an album, not a mixtape. Its thought out, conceptual and displays a wide array of creativity. The pitfalls of money. The joy and stuggles of marriage. Streetlife. Church Hypocrisy. Its not without its faults. I think the popular south sound with “Lord have mercy” had me at a loss. I know they are all capable artists but this caters to people that superficially listen to radio’s top 40. It’s the popular demand track that sometimes still has ‘Crae pidegeonholed. That’s not you anymore, I know its not. Another thing that might subtract from the album experience is that much of the album’s production’s have a lot of inspirations from songs that are already out (Weeknd,Nicki,Big Sean to name a few) thus re creating formulas.
This album however really has something for all genres, which is why I think its so effective. “Mayday” ft. Big K.R.I.T. and American Idol’s Ashton Jones produced by industry heavy hitter DJ Khalil, is probably the best track on the album. I finally get to hear a song with a KILLER hook that isn’t overdone or souped up. Wow. Chills. Ive noticed Lecrae’s ability to always meet people where their at but it was nice to see some deeper transparency from him this time around. One of his biggest critiques is that he has not always been the most emotionally raw person on the mic or one to really bare his soul to the audience. Truth be told, in the past ‘Crae was moreso like an even keeled inspirational rapper than say, a “Mood Music” album from Joe Budden. But really that’s why we grow. Whats showcased here is a man whose just trying to balance all this responsibility on his shoulders in a genre that tends to have an identity crisis. And really, Gravity has massive branchout appeal. Yes,thats a gift and a curse. With music styles co-mixing in a blender everyday and served in a big melting pot its hard to say what fans respond to anymore. It really just comes down to the artists message and what they stand for. That being said, Lecrae’s ability to make songs that pretty much everyone can relate to has kept a high bar of expectation on him. Will he veer out in left field creatively? Will he stick to the formula of anthemic songs with catchy hooks? One thing IS for sure. He’s entering into new territory,tours and platforms that open new doors for impact and creativity to flow thru. This album is a clear indication of that in a climate where artists in this genre too often feel religiously obligated to do things to appease their peers. Which is unhealthy. Stop it. Lecrae is the forerunner and we are celebrating his achievements.