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Nov20ThuIn a musical genre often dominated by misogyny and profanity, Lecrae Moore raps a different tune. November 20, 2014 by Jayne Thurber-Smith
Grammy-winning Christian hip-hop artist, rapper and record producer Lecrae Moore, who released his seventh studio album, Anomaly, to rave reviews this past September, radiates the confidence of a successful recording artist. But that wasn't always the case. Lecrae grew up without a father and for many years suffered the repercussions of that missing piece of his puzzle.
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“I wrestled with a sense of self-worth, because my dad decided drugs would be better than hanging out with his own son,” he remembers.
Desperate for a role model, Lecrae wanted to be a gang member like his uncle. “As a teenager, I chased power, possession, pleasure, but I wasn't fulfilled,” he says. “I kept getting let down.”
Lecrae kept a Bible from his grandmother in his car as a good-luck charm. One night, he was caught for drug possession and sat in the back of a police car while the officer searched his car. When the police officer found the Bible, he told Lecrae he was letting him go.
“I want you to get into that Bible and start living it,” he advised.
“Man, That Was Good!”
Lecrae took the police officer's advice and, not long afterward, joined some friends at a Christian conference. He watched The Cross Movement, a hip-hop group, perform, and heard that Jesus paid the price for his sins when He died on the cross. Lecrae determined he didn't want to live a sinful life anymore and prayed for Jesus to forgive him.
However, over the following months, he vacillated between walking God's way and the world's way.
His wake-up call came when he was involved in a serious car accident and escaped without a scratch. God had his complete and undivided attention.
“I realized I had been living a lie and would never be satisfied until I fully came to Jesus,” Lecrae recalls. “And I wanted everyone to see how awesome God is.”
He handed out his testimony on flyers around his college, the University of North Texas, and talked about God to anyone who would listen.
“Then one night, I went to a Bible study where they knew I used to rap and someone said, 'Why don't you rap about Jesus?' ” he says. “Until then, I had thought God and rap would never really work together. I thought God wasn't OK with rap. But I did it, right on the spot. They said, 'Man, that was good!' ”
Lecrae realized that his talent for rap was a God-given gift. For the next three years, he spent every weekend ministering to kids in juvenile detention, rapping for them during their worship time.
“God showed me I could use my gifts in a unique new way,” he says. “That was eye-opening to me.”
“What started as a practical approach to mentoring the youth population at a local juvenile detention centre has led to a worldwide mission,” his website, www.lecrae.com, states.
Lecrae released his first album at the age of 25. Ten years later, he is now president of Reach Records, representing many other Christian hip-hop musicians besides himself, and his non-profit ReachLife Ministries.
“I'm big on being myself,” Lecrae says. “My ambition was never to sell albums; it was to be an influence in
Husband and Father
For Lecrae, though, his most important priority is his wife, Darragh Moore, and their three children. Despite the necessary time spent on the road touring, she knows no matter where he is physically, his heart is with them.
“My marriage is intentional,” he says. “I make sure I take time in my day to reflect on how blessed I am. Once a week I take my wife on a date, then once a year we take the kids and get away. We stay connected and healthy that way.”
He doesn't allow his head to be turned by any hip-hop groupies who may loiter in the hotel lobbies.
“You have to set up boundaries for yourself and your life,” he comments. “You count the cost. It definitely would not be worth it to me to ruin the lives of everyone in my home with one bad decision. My music is my profession and I try to be professional. I don't look at it as one big amusement park.”
Lecrae's music has extended beyond concert audiences to ministering to many professional athletes. He has held prayer sessions with various professional football, basketball and baseball teams.
“Lecrae's personal friendships with athletes such as Jeremy Lin, Bubba Watson and many others is a testament to his philosophy and belief in positively influencing the influential,” reports ESPN.
“Pro athletes want hip hop in the locker room,” Lecrae says. “It communicates life from their perspective and feeds their souls. Our label provides that forum and we are honoured to be their choice of entertainment.”
Thanks to Lecrae, professional athletes and teenagers can listen to hip hop without listening to unfortunate choices of words.
“It's not something I've ever done so I don't feel any pressure to use expletives,” he explains. “God's brought me this far without them.”
(Photos: Schure Media)