As a kid in Texas, Lecrae Moore would sit on his grandmother’s patio and listen to the music. She hosted a church out back of her home and so Sundays would be spent with her - soaking up the rhythms and melodies of the gospel music. There was always music around Lecrae’s house, too - his mother constantly made music and threw parties, drenching a young Lecrae in creativity that would soak into his veins like a sponge.
At seven years old, Lecrae first saw a rap video and with it saw a world he wanted to be a part of. Seminal hip hop records like RUN DMC’s ‘It’s Tricky’ and Eric B and Rakim’s ‘Paid in Full’ painted a vivid portrait of a world that Lecrae wanted to inhabit. At around age 10, he started writing his own raps, and he got good - quick.
In middle school, kids would start impromptu rap battles in the hall, which Lecrae would regularly get pulled into. After obliterating most of the kids in his class, Lecrae started entering local talent shows - most of which he won. His first real taste of what would become a career came at 13 when producer friend of his mom’s gifted Lecrae with studio time to come in and lay down some of his rhymes to tape.
In high school, Lecrae and his friends would gather wherever they could find a quiet spot and create songs on their keyboard rig. Unsatisfied by what other local rappers would lay down over the songs they were composing, Lecrae started recording his raps over their home-produced beats.
At college at the University of North Texas, Lecrae started using the music lab on campus to write and record songs. A friend of his wanted to start a label, and it was then that Lecrae started pressing his own records to sell at shows and his following started to grow.
After what he describes as a personal transformation where faith became a prominent part of his life, Lecrae’s songwriting shifted toward the spiritual. As his following grew, Lecrae’s records would wind up topping Billboard’s gospel, hip hop and the Top 200 charts, and Lecrae would become the first rapper to win a Grammy for best gospel album.
If you ask Lecrae about the Pioneer Spirit, he’ll tell you that it means realizing the waters are uncharted, and that there are dangers in front of you that no one has experienced, but pressing forward anyway because it’s what you were made to do.
Lecrae has always gone against the grain for the sake of other people. Despite building a comfortable niche for himself within the Christian music world - a genre that often suffers from a blindness to the actual needs of the society around it - Lecrae has been bold about speaking truth to power. In a time that’s seen cultural Christianity turn inward in an effort to preserve the idea that equality has been achieved, Lecrae has not been shy about speaking out about the systemic oppression that plagues the United States. It’s cost him fans, but Lecrae knows that his ceiling is the next generation’s floor, and he’s determined to push it up as high as he can.
Until next time,
John - Founder, IGWM
Pioneer Selects: Lecrae
Currently Reading: Contagious by Jonah Berger
Currently Listening: “A LOT of reggae - mostly an artist called Koffee. My desert island record is The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill, though. It’s the only choice.”
Current Inspiration: “Talking about the merging of culture and activism - my inspiration is Bob Marley. People saw him as more than a musician. He was a cultural leader, a faith leader, etc. His story is one that really inspires me.”
Favorite IGWM Product: “I love anything with the simple IGWM logo. The rings are pretty dope too.”