Tuesday, Houston native LeCrae delivered his sixth full-length albumGravity
on his own imprint Reach Records. It's unapologetic (as it should be), eye-opening and features a man who's taken his newfound success (BET appearance, his
mixtape hosted by DJ Don Cannon) and carried it further, all without losing himself along the way.
It features arguably the best translator of historic Southern zeal in recent memory in Big K.R.I.T. on a grand, matriarch-dedicated record "Mayday". Produced by DJ Khalil and featuring American Idol finalist Ashthon Jones, LeCrae mixes in common-man-from-the-soil themes with his Christian-based background.
He compares the record to Solomon in the Bible, attempting to add a bit of weight to the instances of life. It's more like a less dark version of Scarface's The Diary, sans profanity and the death around the corner hubris 'Face always brought up.
Gravity should serve as a rap anomaly, along with LeCrae himself. He's a man who's consistently labeled a Christian rapper breaking through on a national level in an area of music where the gospel has always existed but isn't as prominent. Truthfully, you have to take LeCrae at his foundation.
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Subtract his religious appeal, and LeCrae is a straightforward Southern rapper whose style waxes and wanes on his Bible-Belt transformation in his late teens. The subject matter doesn't skirt away from typical rap issues (money, success, faith), rather it highlights them at almost every turn. Sort of philosophical, but every message has a little philosophy built in anyway.
He remains affluently Southside Houston from his posture to his delivery, but his message leans more towards Sunday mornings than Saturday nights. He's sobering at times, putting different touches and spins to his normally brash output. Still, he works with more of a different palate than your average religious based rapper -- utilizing multiple soundscapes and comes off more like a conversationalist than a pastor.
By and large, Gravity acts and dresses like a stand along rap album built from the same organ drenched and string heavy foundation that Houston's style of G-funk did in the '90s. It's another "heavy" rap album to drive away from the same escapism tactics rap loves to dwell in.