God's Voice to the Hip-Hop Culture
Christian rapper Lecrae Moore, the leader of 116 Clique and founder of Reach Records, has impacted the mainstream by selling hundreds of thousands of records and winning a Grammy.
In the eight years since he hit the Christian rap scene, Lecrae Moore has not only risen to the top of a growing heap of talented artists, the record mogul with an evangelist’s heart has accomplished things that most others have only dreamt about. As the leader of the 116 Clique (Trip Lee, Tedashii, KB, Pro, Andy Mineo, etc.) and founder of Reach Records, Lecrae has impacted the mainstream, sold hundreds of thousands of records and garnered multiple Dove Awards and most recently his first Grammy.
But when Lecrae first started to write rhymes about the Gospel, it never crossed his mind that rap music could be a ministry, much less a sustainable career. In fact, some might be surprised to learn that he first thought the genre was “corny.”
“I thought it would be silly or weird if somebody had an album where they were rapping about Jesus,” Lecrae admits.
That’s because, throughout his early life and into his late teens, he was heavily influenced by mainstream hip hop and his older cousins and uncles, many of which were involved with the gang lifestyle to varying degrees. And Lecrae’s view of Christianity was seen through the lens of a church where mostly older people attended. So the two concepts were light years apart.
“I began to fall in love with it, just the whole culture,” Lecrae explains. “It was like having people tell stories about what I was seeing and what I was experiencing. So obviously a lot of those songs were glorifying the violence and the drug abuse and the misogyny but ultimately for a young kid, it was the only picture of people in the media that looked like me and talked like me and dressed like me.”
But when Lecrae was 19 years old, a group of Christian young men invited him to attend a conference in Atlanta. Not knowing what it was all about, he agreed to take what he hoped would be a party-filled road trip. It turned out to be something completely different. At the event, he also saw people that looked like him, but they talked different and their music was all about God. Lecrae was transformed and his burgeoning rap skills were given a new purpose.