With a new album on deck for September and a North American tour ready to begin in October, Reach Records' Lecrae isn't showing a single sign of slowing down, which is a good thing since all eyes are seemingly on him in 2012.
Lecrae invited a few media outlets and industry friends to preview his new studio album Gravity at The Cutting Room last week, and they got a chance to hear the man himself speak on his state of mind now that he has been given an even bigger push from the mainstream than any other faith-based rapper has.
It's not a label he boasts, still the inspirational overtones to his music are unmistakeable. And from outside his typical set, he's receiving co-signs from people like Bun B and more.
Gravity begins with an influx of instruments like violin, drums, guitars, as Lecrae rapidly spits lines like "I've seen more trials than Cochran," that immediately grabs your attention. This was a good sign of what was to come from the rest of Gravity's material, and it surely did not disappoint.
"I want to walk with Jesus but my legs too heavy," Lecrae raps on "Walk With Me" which also features Novel. "They say change coming but it's feeling like forever."
"Confessions" played and told the common story about money not always making people happy. "They don't believe in karma/ they just believe in commas," he raps. Lecrae's song for the ladies, "Buttons," was next and was followed by one of the hardest sounding beats on the album, "I Know."
For Gravity Lecrae worked with both the Heat Academy and The Watchmen among others; however, his relationship with these two producing teams has resulted in some of his most powerful songs, so it was great to hear their presence on the new album. Although not one to let his long-standing producers have all the fun, Lecrae made sure that other producers were heard and felt as well, and that's where DJ Khalil comes in.
Khalil produced "Mayday," one of the album's standout records, which also features Big K.R.I.T. The song was easily one of the most organic sounding tracks on Gravity, and featured a beautiful melody and hook sung by Ashton Jones from "American Idol".
"Violence" was a personal favorite, and also one of the most energetic songs that was played. The caribbean-esque record was produced by Tyshan, and finds Lecrae spitting one of his most powerful lines: "Grew up under Tupac, bible verse and two glocks."
Overall, it appears that Lecrae is ready to offer one of his most broad and, dare-we-say, mainstream albums in terms of sound; yet, it still manages to capture the trueness of what he has always stood for and rapped about. If anything, Gravity is a giant step forward for his expanding career, and it will surely be a welcome addition to many "Top 10" lists when 2012 comes to a close.
Following the listening session, Lecrae spoke to AllHipHop.com about the direction he went in with Gravity, as well as the overall sound of the album and the balance he finds between "preaching" and "rapping." He also spoke on the continuing support of his fans, and how they've reacted to having more eyes on him. Lastly, Lecrae spoke on one of his idols, Tupac, and his relationship with Mississippi native Big K.R.I.T., who appears on Gravity.
Check out our exclusive interview with Lecrae below:
Gravity will be in stores on September 4 via Reach Records
Follow Lecrae On Twitter: (@Lecrae)