Why Lecrae’s “Restoration” Should Still Be On Repeat
What a journey Lecrae has been on!
Lecrae’s debut studio album “Real Talk” was released in 2004 and he has reached heights no other Christian rapper has. The Grammy-Award winning artist has grown as a man, a husband, a father, and as a Christian in the public eye over the last sixteen years. Most would say that Lecrae has had an enviable career but closer inspection finds that he has been a victim of church hurt across many fronts.
In 2014, Lecrae released “Anomaly” and the tone of his work began to take a sharp turn in expressing his struggles with white evangelical Christianity, American racism, and the some Christians’ inability to allow Lecrae to create the way he needs to.
In 2017, with the release of “All Things Work Together,” he delivered his most objectively honest album with songs like “Facts” when he said:
My Messiah died for the world, not just USA
They say, “Jesus was Conservative”
Tell ’em, “That’s a lie”
No, He not a Liberal either if you think I’ll choose a side
They say, “‘Crae, you so divisive, shouldn’t be a black church”
I say, “Do the math, segregation started that first!”
Hey, you want unity? Then read a eulogy
Kill the power that exists up under you and over me
In 2016, there was a swift moment where Lecrae and many others began to make their public separation from white evangelicalism. This prompted responses from evangelical voices like Pastor John Piper and Ray Chang. From this moment on, Lecrae has been on his own personal journey to reclaim his faith from the jaws of white evangelicalism and his own self-discovery as a Black Christian artist in this deadly America.
This album feels like a memoir as Lecrae is publicly inviting us to participate with him in his restoration while encouraging us to take our own honest plunge. While this project might not speak to the social inequities in the way we might expect, it still has its relevance amid the mental health trauma that Americans have been experiencing during the year 2020.
“Restoration” is a collaborative project that speaks to his personal journey towards the restoration he so desperately needed after losing hope, wrestling with his faith, and rediscovering himself as an artist. The song “Restore Me” opens by touching on his mental health and suicidal contemplations. “Drown” featuring John Legend gives the listener a unique insight into his struggle to believe God in the middle of a personal crisis of faith and self-love.
I am hopeful that this project will serve as an invitation for all of us to evaluate ourselves with the same level of honesty that Lecrae conveys. Even recently Lecrae has had some public missteps but he has not hidden from coming to terms with how he needs to improve as a Christian, influencer, and artist.
I wholly recommend this project as it urges us listeners to find ourselves apart from what others want us to be and live without the expectation that we will get it right every time. Lecrae has gone through a few personal metamorphoses since 2004 (like all of us) and this project is an honest analysis of where he has been since “All Things Work Together” debuted in 2017.
Perhaps for a majority of Black American Christians, we have had to answer some very difficult questions regarding our identity over the last three years. If we are honest, we have experienced some significant pain that has affected us greatly. This project is an ode to human trauma and our need for continual restoration.