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Posted May 02, 2011
For Memphis-resident and Reach Records co-founder, Lecrae, Rehab is another successful attempt to bring a culturally relevant and biblically solid message to the burdened. As a follow-up to his previous project, Rebel, Rehab had a hefty task at hand in order to meet the prior success and acclaim of Rebel, having been the first Christian rap album to position itself at the top of Billboard’s Top Gospel Album chart. Thankfully, through the grace of God, Rehab has not only met the same chart-topping status, but has also received many other accolades as well, such as debuting at #17 on Billboard’s Top 200 albums.
Regardless of the fame, success, and chart-topping status achieved, Lecrae’s purpose for Rehab is to bring forth the fact that because we are all sinful in nature, it is only thru Christ alone that we can find true rehabilitation for all our problems. Fittingly so, the leadoff track is aptly titled “Check In,” representing the entrance into Christianity offering the healing we need. The album does have a rather uncommon length of 17 tracks with a vast majority of the tracks also containing a featured artist assisting Lecrae. Along with some of the Reach Records family of artists, some other artists such as Sonny Sandoval from P.O.D. and even Anthony Evans make appearances on the album. As an album of encouragement, empowerment, and challenge to the listener as opposed to an expected series of preaching or theology-driven lyrics, Rehab brings a more personal side of Lecrae and the message he is trying to deliver.
Starting with the song “Killa,” the album seems to branch off into several sections to reflect the different stages of entering this rehab that we call Christianity. “Killa,” for example, gives a vivid description of our sin and seduction, which gives the need to bring us into rehab. The next track “Divine Intervention,” makes it known that just as drug addicts typically need someone to intervene and inform them of their detrimental actions, God intervenes in our addiction to sin to save us from it. “Just Like You” focuses on the world’s desire to idolize and model ourselves like those around us and people whom we see to be living the ‘good life’ when instead we should model ourselves in the image of Christ and model our lives around Him, a pivotal step in the rehabilitation process. “Gotta Know” carries a more uplifting beat as acceptance of a problem leads to seeking help.
“Used To Do It Too” begins the part of the album that focuses on the change made while in rehab. Celebrating the fact that “I’m changed, I learned how to live again,” the track emits hope and confidence that the cross does with lives. What is perhaps one of my favorite tracks of the album because it not only features Sonny Sandoval, lead singer of P.O.D., but it also combines hip-hop with rock and reggae influences. Each sharing a verse of the song, the song represents the true freedom from sin that we have in God’s son. Pivoting on the same theme, “High” lyricizes on the new high given thru the regenerated life of going thru rehabilitation. Continuing in a linear fashion as the tracks follow the course thru Rehab, Lecrae raps in “New Shalom” about the new peace given through the cleansing of our sins. One particular thing that I like about this track is how the featured artist, PRo, plays on words and uses a couple of the other collaborators found on this album in the lines.
“40 Deep” features fellow 116 Clique members Trip Lee and Tedashii in a style expected of Lecrae and sounds much like songs from previous albums. This track serves as the starting point for the rehabilitated person to spread the word of the cleansing powers of rehabilitation in order to help others also enter rehab. “Walking On Water” reflects the stepping out on faith and witnessing to others on what God’s power can do. As one of the singles to hit radio, “God Is Enough” is a dance-worthy hit that is pretty self-explanatory in its meaning. Along the same lines, “Boasting,” which features Anthony Evans, speaks of how boasting in God alone should be the focus we seek while telling others of God’s grace and mercy. In that process, “Background,” makes clear that although we may be out telling others about God, we should let Him take the lead instead of relying on our human intentions. In a direct attempt to minister to the listener, “New Reality” intervenes, addressing God’s forgiving nature while also challenging the listener to seek rehab thru Christ if not done so already.
Perhaps it is the gamer in me, but the beginning of “Release Date” and throughout the track is a tune that mimics a similar theme as common in the Final Fantasy series of video games. Despite that, the track concludes on the concept of Rehab and brings the whole album to a resolve, ending the rehabilitation process. The end of the process, however, does not come until the very end, at least the very end of human life as represented in the song. It is then that the worldly journey ends and a new one begins at our home in heaven, with the One who rehabilitates us all.
As a bonus track, “I Love You” doesn’t directly relate to the Rehab theme, but is instead seems to be a love song written for Lecrae’s wife and the support she gives him and has given him throughout the years. A great added track that just adds a little fun to the album in a very danceable fashion.
After listening to the whole album thoroughly, I can easily see why it took this many tracks to make the point Lecrae was trying to make with Rehab. The life of Christianity is not an easy one and requires regular maintenance and rehabilitation in itself, but Lecrae does a great job in putting the concept together in what has already proved to be a stellar album and only makes one want to yearn for more from the talented artist.
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