On Nov. 4, Grammy award winning rapper Lecrae released his highly anticipated Christian Hip Hop (CHH) mixtape, “Church Clothes 4.”
The final mixtape in the Church Clothes series features 13 songs and includes collaborations with Andy Mineo, nobigdyl, WHATUPRG, The Anomaly, Jon Keith, A.I., and Jordan L’Oreal.
Lecrae, who has been open about his faith journey in recent years, shares in his lyrics that he “still believes in the Church, but it’s gon’ take us to put in some work.”
Lecrae openly discusses his deconstruction journey, giving listeners and fans a better understanding of what he went through. The lyrics are similar to some of what he has shared in recent interviews, but with fresh vulnerability. He also mentions well-known pastors and church leaders who lent to some of his deconstruction.
In his track titled “Deconstruction,” which is also an ever-growing topic in Christian circles and a journey Lecrae has been on long before people knew of the Christian buzzword, Lecrae names Judah Smith, John Piper, Tim Keller, Tony Evans, and Voddie Baucham as influential figures he spent time with and looked up to.
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“I would speak at churches, hang with leaders and such. You know, Judah, Piper, and Keller, Tony Evans was clutch,” Lecrae raps. “I was so involved, never thought that I could fall, y’all. Right before the fall of 2015, I was all off. It involved killing Michael Brown, had me feeling down. Tweeted ‘bout it, Christians call me clown, I was losing ground. And Voddie was a hero of mine, met with him plenty of times. This time, when he spoke, it cut me deeper than I realized. Doubled-down, spoke about my pain, I was met with blame. ‘Shame on you, ‘Crae, stop crying, get back to Jesus’ name.’”
Lecrae shares that Baucham’s words cut him deeply, which led to him losing sleep. The CHH icon asks God why his people were hating him because he wasn’t saying what they wanted him to say regarding race relations.
His lyrics then paint a picture of a Christ follower questioning whether God really exists because of the hate he is witnessing around him, especially within the church.
“Everyday we gettin’ killed, and I can’t deal no mo’; I started slipping in the darkness, I’m feeling heartless. Christians got me traumatized, I’on know who God is; Drinking liquor for my therapy, and smoking Mary’s tree,” Lecrae raps. In the song, he questions everything, including his marriage, saying, “Maybe I should get divorced, I don’t know why she married me. What’s the purpose? What’s the point? Nothing matters, I’m just matter, I’m just atoms. Ain’t no Eve, and ain’t no Adam. Where the Xanies? Let me at ‘em.”
In the song, Lecrae says that he got to a point of clinical depression until God spoke to him, saying, “‘Crae I know you love me, I need you to feed my sheep.”
Lecrae realized that God never hurt him, but he allowed church trauma to turn into a “God wound.” It was then that he came to the realization that “the western world has twisted up the Scriptures.” He says, “So when I re-enlisted, I learned the eastern context, the way that Jesus meant it.”