Gravity is easily the most anticipated album in our little scene. If there’s any reason I stop calling Christian hip hop “our little scene,” it’ll probably be based off Lecrae’s success. From Rehab’s tremendous commercial success to the staggeringly high download total for Church Clothes, there’s no denying the immense impact of his recent work. But, does all the hype equate to a dope record? Yes, yes, a thousand times yes.
Gravity is without a doubt, the hungriest I’ve ever heard Lecrae. The project starts off with a bang, as ‘Crae comes with some of his sickest bars. His lyricism on “The Drop” are nothing short of a fantastic statement that he’s here to stay as a big time emcee in hip hop.* “Confe$$ions” shows a transparency about an issue the syntax in the title should easily give away. “Buttons” follows right after with an equally honest look at his own relationship. Sweet without being saccharine, it’s one of the better love songs I’ve heard in some time.
All of this is tightly wrapped around absolutely fantastic production. The newly formed production super-trio The Watchmen, comprised of JR, Alex Medina and Wit laid some strong beats, my favorite being the rowdy “I Know”. Maybe the strongest track is the face-melting Tyshane and ThaInnaCircle produced “Violence”. As Armond Goss mentioned in his excellent Gravity write up, this song is begging for the music video/radio single treatment. Equally as important is the crispness. Drop Gravity (pun not intended**) in your best speakers, it will bump.
Most of all, Crae intertwines his philosophy with his music. Never overbearing, he preaches without preachy—do you catch the difference? Case in point: the Big K.R.I.T. laced “Mayday”. A simple, yet profound message about being real about having struggles with faith, “Mayday” invites the listener to Lecrae’s hope by commending K.R.I.T’s realness about his doubts and simply sharing how he found his Answer.
Oddly enough, the only major problem (and it was MAJOR) was “Lord Have Mercy”. “Lord Have Mercy “was everything Gravity was not– boring, weak beat, weaker punchlines (guest rapper Tedashii seriously said “no Rick James mane but I lookin’ for a ‘supa-freak’”), lame 116 Clique references, beating you over the head with the message…complete mess***.
Outside of that musical kick in the groin, Lecrae released a rock-solid album. It’s deep, yet accessible, radio ready with a lyrical edge, unquestionably centered upon the Christian Gospel but with a presentation digestible by people from all walks. Always a big fish in a small pond, Gravity proved Lecrae’s readiness to swim in bigger oceans.
Rap ain’t ready for our
little scene movement.
*No poker faces just smoking aces my house is full/My temple is a dwelling place my Master’s masterful/You just full of yourself/You just food on the shelf/Eating for breakfast talking reckless but I know the Chef! You don’t want what he’s cooking. That’s fire.
**Okay…maybe a little intended
***Surprisingly, “Lord Have Mercy” was one of the first singles and the first music video (vid’s not much better) from Gravity. Granted, this is from my extreme-outsider’s perspective, but I have to wonder if the video’s highest accomplishment was getting Malice (fka No Malice of The Clipse) some screen time with the Reach Records cats. Disappointing all around.