Lecrae - All Things Work Together Album Review
“Christian rapper” Lecrae has been a well-respected voice in the rap community for over five years at this point. The reason Christian is in parenthesis though is because he is bit of a hard person to categorize. He is a self-proclaimed and proud Christian man, but there are also many people in the community who shun him for the company he keeps and just for being a rapper. There is also a general negative stigma associated with Christian rap that Lecrae does not at all fit into. That has not stopped him from releasing music though, with his last project being the third installment in his Church Clothes mixtape series.
Now in 2017, Lecrae is back and he has a lot to say. This is not a surprise as he has always had a lot to say, but his message has the opportunity to really echo in the Christian community, which seems to be having a bit of an identity crisis currently due mainly to the political climate around them. However, Lecrae continues to show on All Things Work Together that he can make strong music, while staying true to himself and the faith he holds so dear.
The most important thing to know about Lecrae is he is very real. He does not mince words and means exactly what he says. As he combats the criticisms he receives about the music he makes from the Christian community and the backlash for “going political,” Lecrae addresses it all and refuses to change who he is. It’s commendable to receive the hate Lecrae does from so many different sides of the industry and America and to not even think about changing.
Despite the fact he is a Christian rapper, the message of God is not forced down the listener’s throat. “8:28” is the most outwardly Christian song and it is more about him finding answers in life than telling everyone they need to follow his way of life.
This album for Lecrae is strong in several other areas as well. For one, the production throughout is excellent. He enlists some heavy hitters like Metro Boomin’, DJ Dahi, Go Grizzly and No I.D., but even when he uses smaller producers, the songs are rich and the instrumentals are exactly what the tracks call for. Lecrae’s feature choices are also very good with Ty Dolla $ign being the best feature on the album. There were also a lot of singles released before the album and they all work perfectly within the album’s strucure and do not feel like strange breaks or transitions.
The four highlights of the album though are the single “Blessings” - thanks in large part to the aforementioned Ty Dolla $ign feature - and the three songs “Wish You the Best,” “Lucked Up” and “Can’t Stop Me Now (Destination).” “Blessings” is just Lecrae appreciating what he has and all the “blessings” that he has received in life. It plays fantastically on the radio and brought Lecrae to a lot more new audiences.
“Lucked Up” and “Wish You the Best” serve as excellent compare and contrast records. “Lucked Up” sees Lecrae talking about his wife and how lucky he is to have her, while “Wish You the Best” finds him detailing a past relationship in which he says that he put his past girlfriend “through the ringer.” To see him so open about his failures in the past and how they shaped him to be the man for his wife that he is today is truly a beautiful story.
It is also nice to see he holds no hate toward his past ex and he is just wishing and praying for the best. “Can’t Stop Me Now (Destination)” sees Lecrae speak about his battles with depression, which he is very open about. Lecrae continues to be an important voice in the rap community on this topic and to see him continue to be that on this album will likely help a lot of his fans come to terms and help treat their depression.
This is not a perfect album though. For one, there is a severe lack of hooks on this album. The one hook on the entire album is on “Blessings” and it makes the song far more enjoyable and replayable when compared to the rest of the tracks. It’s easy to see that if Lecrae enlisted some features for the sole purpose of a hook, like he did with Ty Dolla $ign, this album could have had a few more standout tracks.
Lecrae’s talks of his past struggles also feel very generic. He is very much a conscious rapper, but songs like “Broke,” although good, feel like anyone could have made them. They are not very unique and most people who had to struggle to get to where they are share the same message. And being a conscious rapper, it is hard not to compare Lecrae to other, better conscious rappers. He may be the best Christian rapper, but being a conscious rapper means he is swinging against some heavy hitters and he does not stack up.
In the end though, Lecrae has made a project that can appeal to many different groups. He has the smash single for the mainstream. He has the gospel talk for this Christian base. He the political talk for those looking for that. Lecrae checks a lot of boxes for people and All Things Work Together represents another good installment into his discography. Lecrae is a very good rapper and he needs to start getting the respect he deserves from fans because to the industry, Lecrae is not some new face.
David Arroyo is a junior majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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