Lecrae, Christian rapper and Grammy Award winner, released a single from his upcoming album today (Oct. 21, 2016). The single “Can’t Stop Me Now (Destination)” gives a candid look at how our nation’s recent turbulence stemming from racial tension affects us on a spiritual and emotional level.
The song starts out with the line, “All those feelings of depression and doubt, you gotta tell them go away. You gotta say get out the way.” And then it just gets better from there. Any fan of jazz or rap or R&B will be able to get behind this one. Not to mention fans of stream of conscience poetry.
In an interview with Billboard, Lecrae gives the story behind the song, which he wasn’t even planning to turn into a single at first. “When people put their ears to it, they said man, people need to hear this perspective. It’s me being raw, real and as transparent as I can be,” Lecrae explains. He said the senseless loss of people like Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Tamir Rice and Philando Castile affected him deeply, because “these men and boys represented people who could be my family: nephews, cousins, brothers.”
Lecrae then did something most people do when they are grieving: He spoke up about it. However, instead of receiving comfort and empathy from people “with whom I may have shared similar beliefs in terms of faith,” the rapper encountered opposition instead. Lecrae explains, “they lashed out and accused me of being political,” which caused him to retreat to “a place of deep despair and depression.”
Additionally, the experience caused Lecrae to realize “a lot of us are wrestling with PTSD. You can’t be exposed to that much death and injustice and walk around unscathed.” The combination of the racial tension in the nation with a handful of personally troubling events (the loss of his cousin, his DJ, and a close family friend betraying him) caused him to lose sight of God’s presence. He confessed the doubts plaguing his mind this way: “God, I don’t know how I feel about any of this right now. And if you’re here, I don’t hear you, see you or feel you.”
Sounds like a recipe for good art. Which is exactly what was birthed out of Lecrae’s wrestlings.
Not one to hide behind appearances, Lecrae says, “People don’t get healed unless they can see your scars. People hide their wounds and won’t get help because they’re scared. But I’m saying ‘look man, I’m scarred up.’ I’m going to show my scars so you all can look at them and say wow, healing is real. I’m grateful for the people who’ve come before me and have showed all of their mess and scars.”
If the rest of the album is anything like this single, it will be a very real and tangible expression of the struggle in which a lot of believers find themselves during this turbulent season. Particularly those of us who call America home. What makes Lecrae’s song so powerful, though, is the hope it offers and the reminder that as believers in Christ, God has given us the tools we need to overcome problems like depression.