New music is my favorite music. When the new R&B, Pop, Hip-Hop, Jazz, and Gospel songs get too familiar, I switch to a different genre where everything sounds new and different.

That’s how I found Lecrae a few years back. I switched to Gospel Rap on my subscription service and listened to the top hits. Every now and then I’d tap the ‘heart’ thing to add a song to my favorites. When I later examined which songs I selected, I was surprised to find that most of them were from Lecrae, a guy I never heard of.

I started listening to Lecrae’s top hits and realized this guy is special. I couldn’t understand why he was in with Gospel Rap when most of his songs weren’t preachy and rarely mentioned God, Jesus, or scripture. They were just great hip-hop productions with positive, uplifting, encouraging lyrics that talks about overcoming the hard-knock-life.

He is just as good, if not better, than the artists on commercial radio, but I never hear him there. And, the gospel radio stations don’t play gospel rap, so, I don’t hear him there.

While looking for a new book on this weekend, I stumbled on ‘Unashamed’ by Lecrae, which came out last month. This book goes down as the first book I listened to in one day.

I was hooked in the introduction where he describes being at the 2015 Grammies, nominated in the Best Rap Performance category with Drake, Eminem, and Kendrick Lamar, but also being virtually ignored by the stars and the paparazzi. I had no idea he had previously won a couple Grammies in the Gospel category.

The book talks about his struggles being raised by a single mom after his dad walked out and how that affected him well into his adult years. He wasn’t an athlete, scholar, or thug, but participated in all three. He found the arts as his refuge, but didn’t want his thug friends to know.

Despite regularly attending church as a kid, it was only in college that his Christian faith blossomed. But, that didn’t come without several traumatic periods of doubt and backsliding, eventually landing him in a clinic for depression.

He started as a Christian Rap artist but evolved into a rapper whose style is more suited to mainstream rap. His message is never centered on violence, drugs, guns, profanity, misogyny, and the normal stuff you often hear. That’s why he doesn’t describes himself as a Christian Rapper, but as a Rapper who is Christian.

There’s no such thing as Christian Rap and Secular Rap. Only people can become Christians. Music cannot accept Jesus into its heart. I’m not trying to make Christian music or secular music; I’m just making music.  – Lecrae

‘Unashamed’ is a must read.

My top 3 Lecrae songs … ‘Déjà Vu’ – ‘Say I Won’t’ – ‘Welcome to America’ – and ‘Fear’ (so hard to stop at 3).