Lecrae – Church Clothes [Mixtape Review] (May 10, 2012)

Grammy-nominated and Dove award winning hip-hop artist Lecrae is back with a free mixtape directed mainly towards the mainstream audience.  Using this mixtape to let new fans know more about him without having to buy an album, the meaning of the title Church Clothes is that God takes us as we are; we do not need to “fix ourselves up” to make ourselves worthy enough for him.  Though Lecrae has directed the mixtape towards nonbelievers, Christian fans will still find much substance in the lyrics of these songs.

Church Clothes begins strongly with the anthem-style “Co-Sign” which gives the listener an idea of the mixtape’s theme.  Lecrae lets us all know that while his music is Christian, it is still hip-hop: “Hi, Hip-Hop / Don’t act like you don’t know me / We got the same momma / Don’t you try to disown me!”  This’l makes a guest appearance on “APB,” the title of the song referring to the police’s APB broadcast containing information about wanted people.  Lecrae uses this to represent that his life has changed so much that those who knew his old self are putting out an APB to find the “old Lecrae.”  The title track on the mixtape is from the point of view of a non-Christian who is turned off by the hypocrisy in the church.  “All these folks is hypocrites / And that’s why I ain’t at church.”

In “Cold World,” Lecrae talks about this cold world filled with drugs, adultery, and immorality.  However, he finished the track by stating, “I know Someone who can change the weather forever.”  Along with Tedashii and Dre Murray, Lecrae expresses hope in “Welcome to H-Town” that God will cause a positive change to occur in Lecrae’s hometown of Houston, Texas.  On a softer note, “Inspiration” contains a single, long verse from Lecrae who reflects his change from his old ways.

Lecrae admits in “Rise” that with all the secular influence on the radio, it is hard for a nonbeliever to rise from it all and become a Christian, but Lecrae says, “God made you and He rose for you / So you rise.”  No Malice joins Lecrae on “Darkest Hour,” a song that features a strong drumbeat, a message of conquering temptations, and that God will provide a sunrise in our darkest hours.

Perhaps the unique track on the mixtape is “Black Rose” which features both fast and moderate paced lyrics.  The black rose in the song is someone without support and receives hate from around her, but God is the Gardener Who gives her the defense mechanisms she needs.  “The Price of Life” features Andy Mineo, a smooth beat, and a warning to girls to not buy into the lies the world gives them.  In “Special,” Lecrae lets his wife know how much he loves her and how he wishes to stay with her forever: “Can’t wait to date you when you sixty and your hair is gray.”

Lecrae raps in “No Regrets” about living a good Christian life with no regrets, staying strong through pain and staying away from sin.  He then expresses his strong desire in “Gimme A Second” to share with people the Gospel.  Lecrae makes some strong statements in “Long Time Coming” (which features Swoope), my favorite being, “Some people are so focused on the road to success / They don’t see their whole family laying dead on the tracks / I rather seize to have my lyrics spread over tracks / And put some family photos on the walls instead of plaques.”

“Misconception” has four verses and three guest singers, Propaganda, Braille, and Odd Thomas; all of them rapping about misconceptions the world has given us.  This is followed by the fun, upbeat song “Spazz” in which Lecrae again talks about spreading the Gospel and looking for conversion in the nonbelievers.  As the mixtape begins to close, Lecrae raps in “Sacrifice” about the sacrifices he makes as a Christian and the sacrifice Christ made for us.  Finally, Lecrae wraps up Church Clothes with the very upbeat “Rejects” with the final words stating that Lecrae wants to be a reject, just as Jesus was a reject.

Church Clothes features familiar guest artists as well as terrific beats and lyrics that both Christians and non-Christians can relate. The hip-hop is a newer sound from Lecrae, sporting a more raw sound.  There is absolutely no reason to not download this free mixtape.  It contains some of the best hip-hop songs of the year and is totally worth the listen!

Click here for the free download of this awesome mixtape!