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EXCLUSIVE: Lecrae and Andy Mineo Talk Deconstruction, Being Labeled Christian, Swearing in Music, and More With ChurchLeaders

Lecrae Andy Mineo
Photos by Jesse Jackson

Earlier this year, ChurchLeaders sat down with Reach Records recording artists Lecrae and Andy Mineo on their “We Are Unashamed Tour,” asking the influential hip-hop artists about Christian deconstruction, their feelings about being labeled Christian artists, Mineo’s use of swear words in his music, and what they would tell church leaders today.

Lecrae co-founded Reach Records in 2004 and serves as president of the label, whose roster includes Lecrae, Andy Mineo, 1K Phew, Hulvey, Wande, Tedashii, Trip Lee, and WHATUPRG.

Lecrae has released 11 studio albums and has won multiple awards, including 2 Grammy’s and 9 GMA Dove Awards. Lecrae has also authored 2 books: “Unashamed” and “I Am Restored: How I Lost My Religion but Found My Faith.”

Mineo has released four studio albums and has won 2 GMA Dove Awards. Mineo has been featured on BET’s Cypher and on the radio show hosted by Sway Calloway, where he has spoken openly about his faith in Christ. Calloway has praised Lecrae and Mineo’s style, lyrics, and production, comparing them to some of the best rappers in the industry.

“[Their] message and substance gives me chills when I can hear somebody rap as good as them and also put God in it,” Calloway has said.

On a cold day in Indianapolis, Indiana, ChurchLeaders sat down for an hour-long discussion Lecrae and Mineo on couches in a church’s youth ministry room. They, along with the rest of Reach Records’ artists, had just returned from visiting a jail, where they shared testimonies and the gospel message to the inmates. Below is our conversation.

ChurchLeaders: Do you consider the music you create Christian music? Does it bother you when someone places the Christian label on your music?

Lecrae: There’s been different iterations in my journey, where there’s been seasons where I was trying to figure out how to participate as a Christian in a mainstream music. And “Christian” was working as a better noun and than adjective, right? Because it was like how do you describe these shoes? Are these Christian shoes? Is a Christian a person or is it an adjective to describe a thing or genre or something along those lines? So I was trying to navigate that.

For me now—I don’t care. I’m kind of like, Alright, whatever, man, whatever works for you.

As far as Reach Records is concerned, we sign people who are Christians and create music. If they want to call themselves Christian artists, then by all means. If they don’t, we understand that as well.

RELATED: Lecrae: ‘Deconstruction Isn’t a Bad Thing If It Leads to Reconstruction’

Andy: I think it comes down to each person’s philosophy on what they believe. Like, what do you define as Christian content?