There has been a lot of chatter and buzz surrounding Lecrae's latest release "Let the Trap Say Amen" and I think rightly so. I will not pretend to know Lecrae's heart, and I can only take him at his word and so as a result this blog will not be addressing that but rather looking at some of the possible issues with the album and as a result of it, asking the question, has Lecrae compromised? I really only have a couple of concerns with the album, I don't think it is a great album but it is good, I can appreciate what Lecrae has stated as far as his intentions and I think it is a bold move for him to change his style and I think he did it well.
First thing to look at is the paring up with Zaytoven, from the information available on him, it seems as though Zaytoven grew up in the church and that is where he learned to play instruments etc... I couldn't find any thing on a profession of faith but I am not certain on this and so I won't be addressing that but rather looking at who Zaytoven has aligned himself with. Before working with Lecrae, Zaytoven has been making beats for Gucci Mane, Migos, Future, Waka Flocka Flame, and others. This concerns me a bit but it might not concern you and that is okay, but let me share my thoughts on the matter before you check out. It seems to be clear from my perspective that Zaytoven has aligned himself with the world and is making beats for some rappers with some questionable character traits. I know that there is a lot of discussion concerning secular music and whether the Christian should have any part in it. I will say from my perspective, why would I want to enjoy or participate in music that is promoting, sex, drugs, often times the objectification of women and generally doesn't seem to have much in the way of a positive message (this is not always the case for all secular music and think a large level of discernment is needed, personally for me if it is something I find offense, or goes against the values I hold as a Christian then I choose not to listen or watch). With all that being said, is it possible that Zaytoven grows from this and follows Jesus, maybe turns down some of the artists that he has been working for because he can't get behind their message, only time will tell, but I do think it is important to talk about.
2nd, I found the pair with Waka Flocka Flame very questionable for a couple of reasons. My concern is that him doing a song with Flocka becomes an endorsement of Flocka as a rapper. People look up to Lecrae and a move like this comes across as if he is signing off on Flocka and what he stands for. That can be dangerous and has the potential to lead people astray. Lets say that someone is a Lecrae fan and they listen to this album, they then come to this song and see Waka Flocka's name as a feature, so then they begin to check him out. They then begin to listen to Waka and think that it is okay to listen to him because if Lecrae put him on his album then he must be okay to listen to and support. This is problematic for me because Flocka puts out some very questionable music from a lyrical position. A quick search of Flocka's lyrics and you are entrenched in curse words and some very iffy material for a child of God to be engaging in. One of the first images you will see is Waka flipping the camera off. See you and I may be mature enough to handle that but what of our weaker brothers and sisters? Don't we think this move should at least be examined and discussed? We may agree to disagree but it is for sure a conversation worth having (in love and as mature Christians).
Here is the crux of the issue for me and I am going to use 1 Corinthians 9:19-23 to demonstrate my point. In that Paul notes something very important. "When I am with the Gentiles who do not follow the Jewish law, I too live apart from that law so I can bring them to Christ. But I do not ignore the law of God; I obey the law of Christ." 1 Corinthians 9:21 In other words, don't compromise who you are in Jesus to gain the favor of others. I am not saying Lecrae has or has not compromised, this is why we are having this discussion. However it does seem to me that he is making some interesting moves in an attempt to reach the lost. Be in the world not of the world (Romans 12:1-2).
We are to engage the world for Jesus, we are to go to great lengths to win the lost to Christ but we are not to sin or unite ourselves to sin in the process. Paul states bad company corrupts good character. Though this is true we are not to hide behind the verse, we are still to engage. Jesus ate with sinners but He Himself was not one, and He never condoned sinful behavior. My issue in this is what it points people towards, Jesus or the world? The argument I see made often is "Lecrae didn't write this album for Christians." Maybe not, but as a Christian Lecrae should be seeking to glorify God in all that he does (1 Corinthians 10:31) and that includes who he aligns himself with. Even though Jesus ate with the sinners, he called them to repentance, he commanded them to change directions and to put the sinful behaviors down and follow Him. Following Jesus means to deny yourself, pick up your cross and follow after Jesus... "If you refuse to take up your cross and follow me, you are not worthy of being mine. 39 If you cling to your life, you will lose it; but if you give up your life for me, you will find it." Matthew 10:38 This is no small thing. Jesus never compromised who he was to gain favor, not once, never. This blog is in no way an indictment on Lecrae or his character, rather it is seeking to have a discussion and analyze the things we are seeing and challenge ourselves and our presuppositions.
We would love to keep the conversation going, what do you think, has Lecrae compromised? As always, lets keep our comments Christ-centered and loving, our hope is to grow and have mature conversation. So leave a comment and share you thoughts! We look forward to hearing from you!