They say you can rap about anything except for Jesus
That means guns, sex, lies, video tapes
But if I talk about God my record won’t get played, huh?
This is how Kanye West, troubadour of gold diggers and douchebags andLamborghinis, raps about faith. The irony of his 2004 hit “Jesus Walks” is that it’s a direct challenge to radio stations and record studios—”well let this take away from my spins,” West declares—but it won a Grammy and made it to the top 20 on the Billboard 100. The other irony of “Jesus Walks” is that West also has penned deeply profane lyrics like “put my fist in her like a civil rights sign.” He may have rapped about Christianity, but few would call Kanye a Christian rapper.
Not so for Lecrae. At the end of September, the 34-year-old rapper became the first-ever artist to land an album at the top of both the Billboard 200 and the gospel charts simultaneously. Anomaly includes shout-outs to Jesus, gratitude for “the redeemer,” and not a single curse word.
It also includes lyrics about slavery, a discussion of adultery, and a song about driving someone he had sex with to get an abortion.
Since Anomaly started its meteoric rise, there has been much discussion ofwhether Lecrae is a Christian rapper or just someone who “never becomes a badChristian, lyrically,” as Grantland‘s Rembert Browne put it. The terms of this debate stem from the old, enduring conundrum Christian recording artists often face: They’re either hemmed in by the genre label of “Christian music,” or they reach the mainstream by keeping religion in their private life beyond the occasional, “Jesus Walks”-type statement.