A couple of weeks ago, I spent an impromptu 15 minutes talking with Lecrae at Canada’s Wonderland in Toronto (Canada), where he was performing a set during WonderJam.
IVM: So, you’re finally back in Canada! I know you played Hamilton (Ontario) back in February, how does it feel to be back in Canada?
Lecrae: I love it! Toronto is one of my Top 5 cities to play, hands down! The diversity, the culture here in Toronto, just overall nice people.
IVM: You’re saying Canadians are nice?
Lecrae: They are! All day today, maybe something somehow gave it away that I was American? I don’t know! But, tons of people were asking me if I needed anything or if I knew where I was going.
IVM: Nice to hear! So, you’ve been in the Christian Hip-Hop Industry for over a decade now. Want share a bit about how those years have been?
Lecrae: Yeah! For me, it was never about invading a genre but rather it was creating authentic music. I grew up in Hip-Hop culture since I was a kid, and when I embraced the Christian faith the only thing that really changed artistically was now you were getting an outpouring of everything I was experiencing and what I was going through. I was never like “Yeah! Let’s go here and pave the way”. It was more just us deciding to express what’s on our hearts via music, and hoping it may help and mobilize people. Over the years, I think that platform as continued to grow, and has been really organic. Going from playing at Boys & Girls Clubs to now playing shows in front of tens of thousands of people is mind blowing! We never anticipated any of this.
IVM: Last year, you released your EP Church Clothes Vol. 2, and now just yesterday (June 20th) the album cover for Anomaly made its first appearance to the world. How has the reception been so far for Church Clothes Vol. 2, and what can we expect from Anomaly? Will it be something different?
Lecrae: Church Clothes, those were sort of like a pet projects in a sense. They gave me the opportunity to do things I would normally not do on an album. I can be more experimental, and some of it is much trendier. Trendy music, because it takes a lot more time and effort to create timeless music work. That’s what Anomaly will be, timeless music. Music that isn’t on the cusp of what’s hot or anything like that. I don’t want you to go back and listen to it, and say “This came from such and such an era”. I want it to feel timeless to those who listen. I think Church Clothes Vol. 2 was well received, it certainly garnered new audiences. I think Anomaly is just moving it even further that way.
IVM: A more mature sound than what we’ve known it the past?
Lecrae: A more mature sound, but at the same time there is still some elements of fun. Some pop sensibility, Hip-Hop, authentic Hip-Hop. I also feel that I’ve grown as a person, so you’ll hear that transition. I won’t talk about the same things I experienced before, because now I’m experiencing new and different things.
IVM: Some have mentioned your name as an integral part/pioneer of the Christian Hip-Hop industry, and many new up-and-coming artists are looking towards you for inspiration. How do you feel about all of that?
Lecrae: Wow! Again, it’s never been about a genre for me or boundaries. It has always been about being authentic, being true to myself and about my relationship with God. It has never been about a genre or industry. I’m grateful for anyone that I’ve inspired or any roads that I’ve paved for other people. For me, I just really want to help engage culture and fight for a change in our world, as much as possible through music.
IVM: Very humble words. So, changing things up a bit: If you were to head out on a tour tomorrow and you could take any 3 artists on tour with you, what would that tour look like?
Lecrae: That’s a tough one! Lauryn Hill is one of my favs, hands down. I’d definitely love to involve her in a tour. My brothers over at Humble Beast (Propaganda, Odd Thomas, A Beautiful Eulogy), I think they’d bring a unique element. I’d probably also bring my Reach Records family (Trip Lee, KB, Andy Mineo, Tedashii). To switch it up a bit, maybe bring Switchfoot!
IVM: This will be one of our last questions. What do you consider to be one significant positive aspect of the music industry, as well as one significant negative aspect of the music industry?
Lecrae: The beautiful (positive) aspect of the industry is that it creates lanes and pathways by which people can access your music, and everyone is mutually benefited. The listener is benefited by getting good music. The writers/producers/artists are benefited by being able to express themselves and even be compensated for that expression. That is certainly a great part of the industry, as well as the independent aspect where you no longer need a major label to get your music out there. The negative, is that now the industry is convoluted and crowded. Anyone can make something and throw it out online, and have it spread through social media. You need to dig through that cloudiness to find the good stuff, so that is one thing that I certainly think is negative. It is a catch 22, because I certainly don’t like the control that the major labels have over artists.
IVM: Thanks for taking the time to keep in touch with your fans over at Indie Vision Music. Any final thoughts?
Lecrae:Anomaly, coming this fall! Make sure you get it!