Lecrae: "I've messed up tons as a non-believer; my life was a hedonistic joy ride. God in His mercy and His grace has shown me the true value of Himself and my significance and purpose."
Lecrae Moore, known by his stage name Lecrae, is an American Christian hip-hop artist, ministry leader, entrepreneur, record producer, and actor. He is the president, co-owner and co-founder of the independent record label Reach Records, and is also the co-founder and president of the non-profit organization ReachLife Ministries. To date, he has released five studio albums and one mixtape as a solo artist, and has released four studio albums as the leader of the rap group 116 Clique.
Born and raised by his mother in a struggling community on the south side of Houston, Lecrae moved around to several places giving him the versatile background and cultural awareness he carries with him. San Diego, Denver, and Dallas have also once been home to him and the street life he once idolized and pursued. Along the way he took to rapping as a way of communicating his mind. It wasn't until after high school that his hobby became a passion after his hip-hop background was redeemed by Jesus Christ.
His first album, Real Talk, was initially released in 2004 by Reach Records. The record was re-issued the following year by Cross Movement Records, and peaked at No. 29 on the Billboard Top Gospel chart. After the Music Stops, his second solo album was released in 2006 and reached No. 5 on the Billboard Gospel chart. The album and its second single, "Jesus Muzik" featuring Trip Lee, were both nominated for a Dove Award at the 38th Dove Awards. His third solo album, Rebel, was released in 2008 and reached No. 1 on the Gospel chart, the first Christian hip-hop album to do so. It received a nomination at 40th Dove Awards.
Gravity is his sixth studio album, which released Sept. 4, 2012. The first single off the album, "I Know", was released on July 24, 2012, and was followed by "Tell the World" featuring Mali Music on August 15, 2012. A music video for "Lord Have Mercy" featuring Tedashii along with No Malice of Clipse was released on Aug. 1, 2012. Gravity is a follow up to the mixtape Church Clothes, which was released earlier in 2012, and Lecrae's two previous studio albums, Rehab and Rehab: The Overdose.
I had the great opportunity to speak with Lecrae about his title track "Gravity." Here are the answers to the questions that I asked him.
Please describe the background message behind the song "Gravity."
"Gravity" as the title track of the album is representative of the theme of the album, which is based on the Book of Ecclesiastes. This song is in tune with that book of the Bible and addresses a lot of the issues people face and the woes and the pain of life. The song starts out with me talking about who I write for: the perishing and the parishioners. The Christians and those who are not Christians who are perishing. The idea is that there are all these problems and issues in the world and how when we look at life we realize that we don't have the strength to get through these challenges on our own. You'll notice in the song that there is a cynical view of the problems in life, oppressed workers, corrupt pastors, government corruption, and other issues. If you sit and think about all of those problems you wonder what's the point in living if that's all this life has to offer. This is the redundancy and vanity of life. As a Christian, my hope isn't in this life. It's a lot easier for me to wrestle through all of these problems and vanity when you know that true life, true meaning and, true purpose can be found in Jesus. You'll experience life unlike any other after this life. That's the heart behind this song.
Which Bible verses best connect to the message of the song?
Ecclesiastes 4:13-16: "Better a poor but wise youth than an old but foolish king who no longer knows how to heed a warning. The youth may have come from prison to the kingship, or he may have been born in poverty within his kingdom. I saw that all who lived and walked under the sun followed the youth, the king's successor. There was no end to all the people who were before them. But those who came later were not pleased with the successor. This too is meaningless, a chasing after the wind."
... Ecclesiastes 11:9: "You who are young, be happy while you are young, and let your heart give you joy in the days of your youth. Follow the ways of your heart and whatever your eyes see, but know that for all these things God will bring you into judgment."
...Ecclesiastes 12:13-14: "Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is the duty of all mankind. For God will bring every deed into judgment, including every hidden thing, whether it is good or evil."
...and John 3:30: "He must increase, but I must decrease."
What's the takeaway message of the song for you personally and for listeners?
Judgment is pending, and a lot of people don't want to embrace that reality. A pending judgment and your whole life on display for the what you've done now scares people, and they don't want to think about it so they reject God. But then, alongside it, if you get down to the nuts and bolts of it, there's nothing good in us. There's nothing about us that deserves applause or a righteous standing before God. It pushes you to God's mercy and God's grace.
Mercy is not getting what we deserve for what we've done, and grace is us getting what we don't deserve. That's the story of my life. I deserved circumstantially to suffer the consequences of my actions. I deserve to be in prison right now. I deserve diseases and frustrations for what I've done, but God has shown me mercy. Eternally I deserve to be cast away from Him forever. But, there's grace.
God has given me a grace that I don't deserve, and although I've been misogynistic in my past, He's given me the grace of having a wife who trusts me and who loves me. Although I've committed acts of injustice God has given me children and leadership roles to execute justice according to His plans. He's given me the grace to spend eternity with Him through His Son Jesus Christ. I've messed up tons as a non-believer; my life was a hedonistic joy ride. God in His mercy and His grace has shown me the true value of Himself and my significance and purpose.
Keeps pullin' me down
I pen songs for the perishin' and parishioners
Them hearers and them listeners, the home and the visitors
This is not a game, you can't tame or make it purty
They say the earth cursed, so our mouths stay dirty
There's mud on the track, a slug in ya' back
Police done pulled you over wit' a gun in ya' lap
And you ain't the power to make it through this parade
The workers can't keep the profit - everything here is vain
My job oppressive, I strive for my blessin's
The pastor so corrupt it's hard to ride with his message
Riches destroy the owners, the government think they own us
My onus is to keep the police from ridin' all up on us
Leavin' money to kids who spend it on getting' blitz
Say, what's the point of livin' to give it up in the end
Then again, all my sin has been pinned to the cross
I know I'm free forever from this land of the lost
Yeah, every time I think I'm flying
I'm just falling
So close to touching the sky
But gravity keeps pulling me back down
But I can't stay here forever
I want to go, ooh one day!
I want to go
Somewhere where there's no gravity
Somebody told me there was no such thing as truth
I said, "If that's the case then why should I believe you?"
Murder, money, and mayhem, every place that I lay in
My problems follow suit, I'm tailor-made for this, ain't I?
It's deep. You wanna go deep? I'll take you deep
Reality is really just cheap
Yo' eyes wide open apparently, but you sleep
And everything you have in your hands you'll never keep
So why hold on, I flow on to go on, before long I float on
Eternal life is what I'm thinkin' I'mma bank my hope on
Believe me, easy is irrelevant
The devil want us burning for the hell of it
Elephants in the room say we can't talk about impending doom
Or we gospel rappin' or preaching people out of they shoes
It's cool, I'll be that dude. We glued to our depravity,
Until somebody free us from this gravity. Fly!
Asbury's Bible commentary: "While life from some vantage points may seem meaningless, the fact that it is ultimately subject to divine scrutiny gives it meaning. Humankind's wholeness is to be found in worship (fear God) and conduct (keep His commandments). In all stages and events of life the human creature is to reverence God and obey Him. The all of human life stands in sharp contrast to the all of vanity. Here we find meaning and purpose. If the deeds of life are deemed consequential enough by God to be judged, then life can never be without significance."
The whole purpose of my Behind the Song devotional ministry is to praise our Lord and Savior, Jesus, for providing us this opportunity to point people to Him. As Christians, we all must remember that truth. Accepting Jesus as your personal Savior and putting aside our own pride in accomplishments, and laying all of our sins at the feet of Jesus is more important than record sales or awards. It is a decision that I made after hearing Gospel truth from the biblical messages of Christian music and accepted Jesus as my personal Savior. For that gift of life in Christ Jesus, I'm eternally grateful.
The ministry of Christian music is not about these great singers who God has blessed with amazing talent. The whole purpose of the music is to praise our Lord and Savior Jesus for providing the opportunity to point people to Him. Just like in Lecrae's hit song "Background," his music ministry is based on John 3:30: "He must increase, but I must decrease."
I love that Lecrae based this great song and album on the Book of Ecclesiastes, which is very challenging, in particular Chapter 11, verse 9: "You who are young, be happy while you are young, and let your heart give you joy in the days of your youth. Follow the ways of your heart and whatever your eyes see, but know that for all these things God will bring you into judgment." We all need to remember that earth isn't our permanent home and our freedom from the "Gravity" of this world will come when we enter the true rest that can only come from living eternally with Jesus Christ. Amen.
Posted September 04, 2012 | NRT Lead Contributor Kevin Davis is a longtime fan of Christian music, an avid music collector and credits the message of Christian music for leading him to Christ. He lives in Pennsylvania with his wife and three daughters.