Christian Rapper Lecrae Discusses Kanye West’s ‘Jesus Is King’ Album

Has Yeezy’s musical migration toward religious themes alienated listeners?

(AllHipHop News) Over the last few weeks, Kanye West consumed pop culture with his Jesus Is King album rollout. Ye’s take on Gospel is both an extension and a departure from his musical aesthetic.

Some of Kanye West fans attempted to credit the 42-year-old as an innovator for mixing Hip Hop and Gospel. However, artists like Lecrae have been the leading voices in the Christian rap space for decades. 

Lecrae’s Gravity even won Best Gospel Album at the 2013 Grammy Awards. Billboard spoke to the Houston-born songwriter about West’s move toward Christ-based sound.

“Kanye is such a polarizing figure and his movements create ripple effects in culture, particularly music,” said Lecrae. 

The Let The Trap Say Amen creator continued, “Traditionally Gospel is seen as singing. Those of us Christians who rap were removed from the Gospel charts on that technicality. His deeper impact is perhaps on the Christian rap community. There is a lot more intersectionality there.”

Unlike secular projects from West – such as College Dropout and My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy – Jesus Is King is receiving mixed reactions from professional reviewers and lay listeners. The LP has a 56/100 critics score and a 5.8/10 user score on Metacritic.

“When a person trades misogyny, and self-glorification, for talking about Jesus on every track, that will guarantee scrutiny and disappointment. Lastly, people will have their subjective opinion on the music, and they are entitled to it,” offered Lecrae. “It sounds like a person who is excited about his new relationship with Jesus. I’m in support of that.”

Even though Jesus Is King is polarizing, the project is expected to have a successful opening week in sales. West is on pace to collect between 225,000 and 275,000 first-week units.