Posted August 27, 2012
By MarkRyan_NRT, Staff Reviewer
One of the most anticipated albums of the year drops on September 4. The new release from Lecrae, entitled Gravity, is the follow up to the free mixtape Church Clothes. This album is well produced and laid out with great features, beats, and lyrics.
The album comes in hard with "The Drop (Intro).” Orchestral sounds with an epic soundtrack feel captivate you immediately. Your ears perk up for what will be a musical version of Golden Corral. By the end of this full course offering you will be full to overflowing, wondering what's next.
The title track is up next featuring the unmistakable vocals of JR. "Gravity" pulls us down to the earth and is used as a metaphor for what keeps us from heaven. But as Christians we desire to go somewhere where there is no gravity, no sin, no sickness, no shame, just to the place that we are meant to strive for. Following on this theme, the album musically changes gears with a gospel driven sound. "Walk With Me" is a man's cry for Jesus to walk closely with us through all of our struggles, whether it's a sick child, the death of loved ones, or soldiers in Afghanistan. We can cry out to Jesus and know that He hears our prayers ‘cause the walls can't hear us.
"Free From It All" is up next. This features the vocal stylings of Mathai. The central theme behind this song is that regardless of where you are in life, if you fall in any way shape or form, you are still free from the trappings of this world. You have your identity in Christ and even if you fall from social graces you will continually fall up in to the arms of Christ and be free from it all. Falling continues into the next track with "Falling Down" featuring Swoope and Trip Lee. The song gets you bobbin your head right away and Trip takes the first verse. This song speaks to the hip-hop culture and to the general culture of today. No matter how much wealth you build up, or how popular you get, everything will fall down around you.
"Fakin'" featuring This'l is up next. This song hits hard. It speaks of the guys out there that pretend to be something they're not. From the guys wrapping their Chrysler 300s with Bentley front ends and guys pretending to be Scarface not realizing how the movie ended. At the end of the day, they are fakers pure and simple. From taking on fakers, Lecrae takes on the prevalence of "Violence" in today's society. At this point the album takes a harsh shift musically, and I didn't have to flip the cassette over, but this is where the B-side would have started. It is a jarring transition musically from the dancehall vibe of "Violence" into a smoother R&B flow of into "Mayday.”
"Confe$$ions" is up next. This song moves back to theme of regardless of the wonderful thing the world offers, it is just temporary. Private jets, first class, European cars, none of it can be passed from this world to the next so there is no reason to make that your sole purpose in life. "Buttons" is the next track. This song is about the sanctity of marriage and how when we make that vow of for better or for worse, even if we push each other's buttons, there is no reason to leave. That just means what you have is a real relationship.
"Power Trip" featuring Derek Minor (aka PRo), Sho Baraka, and Andy Mineo slides into the mix next. The song asks the question, "who's got the power?" Is it the tycoons, pro athletes, and entertainers that have the power? Or is it Jesus Christ? "Who made the crowd put their hands in the sky? (me)/ Who made the sky with their hands?" Tedashii features on the next track, "Lord Have Mercy.” This song has an industrial sound that adds a new dimension to this grand buffet of music. The song speaks of the redemptive power of Jesus Christ and the change He can make in a life. "I Know" comes next and is somewhat manic musically and being such somewhat detracts from the flow of the album.
The album finishes with "Tell The World" and "Lucky Ones," which both give testimony that we have grace and mercy thanks to Jesus Christ and this mercy and grace will set us free from Gravity.
Closing Thoughts: This truly is one the most highly anticipated albums of the year, not only by fans of Christian hip-hop, but by fans of Christian music in general and by fans of secular hip-hop. Lecrae is arguably the biggest name in the genre (CHH) right now and rightly so. The genre saw a shift change with his debut album and he continues to challenge the establishment by offering music not strictly targeted towards Christians. In many ways this album lived up to the anticipation, but not without its low spots. There are 3 or 4 songs too many on the album that detract from the album as a whole. Fans and newcomers alike will enjoy the album, and there is no doubt that another Dove and Grammy nomination will show up in Crae's mailbox. However, there were too many low spots for this reviewer to get overly excited.
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