Once a well-kept secret, Christian rapper and producer Lecrae Moore tops the Billboard charts with his seventh studio album Anomaly. Unlike many Christian artists that segue into mainstream spotlight, each and every track holds a direct message about his faith. And unlike Lecrae’s hip hop peers, he doesn’t rap about money, cars, and the fast life to entertain the masses. Anomaly’s concept is unique, well-executed, and a good listen for Christians and hip hop heads alike.
With zero knowledge of Lecrae prior to his release of Anomaly, I looked at the tracklist and hoped to God that his songs weren’t as cliché as their titles. Good news; they weren’t. The first song “Outsiders” reminded me instantly of B.o.B with its fast flow and honest words. Alluding to his adolescent misfit behavior, he ingeniously uses a similie to compare fitting in with trying to get into a prison. The album is such a fun listen because not only is it intelligent and meaningful, but these powerful messages are disguised as ordinary rap songs you’d hear on the radio. The single “Nuthin” embodies his undeniable talent at melding good Christian lyrics with an impressive rap style. The song jumps from referencing Tupac’s “All Eyez On Me” to mimicking Trinidad James “All Gold Everything” flow all the while calling out rappers and criticizing their content. Yet his message isn’t shameful; it’s eye-opening. He raps “It’s foreign cars, pretty girls everywhere you go / Yeah I heard it 30 times on the radio” and cleverly includes a bible reference with “Why we so Judas / Talking bread like we at the last supper”.
Lecrae is not blind to his influence in these conflicting genres. The third track “Say I Won’t” featuring Andy Mineo is essentially a shout-out to haters. With a club-like sound and goofy flow, he asks his competition “Why ya’ll scared to be different?” Moore illustrates his character in the line “Say I won’t sell my shoes and take my kids to Chuck E Cheeses with the money”, an example of how he would trade material items for quality time with his kids.
Anomaly makes a point to not judge anyone’s actions but merely reflect on them. Lecrae comes off humble in the way he refrains from chastising by routinely admitting to being guilty of the same crimes. In the catchy record “Runners”, Moore details the cause and effect of being a player rapping “Always on the trail of another female” and “My next girl eventually be my ex-girl”. The major difference between this track about chasing women and the ones you hear on the radio is instead of bragging about being the man, he’s reflecting on the unhappiness it caused him. He speaks from experience in the lines “Love, everybody want it / But the lies and the lust keep lying next to us”.
Moore continues to surprise listeners with “Dirty Water”, a track that sounds like something you’d hear on a G.O.O.D. music compilation record. “Dirty Water” has messages that are hard to swallow about Christian and black culture by speaking up on the prominent hypocrisy found in both. Ever after making these important points, Lecrae modestly comments on is music “First of all, I know it ain’t gon change the world / There’s no way / It’s not a guilt trip, it’s a field trip that’s gon last more than one day”.
Not all the tracks on Anomaly could blend in unnoticed on a mainstream station, the last few tracks of the album feel a bit weak in comparison to the hard hitting rap songs that make up the first half of the LP. “Give In”, “Good, Bad, Ugly”, and “Broken” are all songs you would expect to hear from a Christian rapper with powerful messages on what faith and religion can do for the average person. All features are fellow Christian artists and these tracks were undoubtedly made for a Christian radio station. The album-titled track “Anomaly” does a great job meeting mainstream and Christian genre criterion. Short and sweet, this track starts off with a psychedelic Wah-Wah pedal effect, and attention-grabbing trumpets. He repeats the principle of being different while the beat grooves along with tambourines and freestyled female vocals.
We all know that Christian music doesn’t have the best connotation to mainstream music listeners but the C-word in front of rapper should not be off-putting to rap fans. And let’s be real; how many die-hard rap fans can actually relate to the songs about money, hos and clothes? If you already like this type of music, why not listen to something that speaks directly to your lifestyle and encourages you to better it? You don’t have to be Christian to enjoy this album; its content is a genuine message to the masses regardless of religious affiliation and the universality is why Lecrae Moore is a rapper to watch.