Lecrae releases latest installment of “Church Clothes” mixtape series
Ahead of the Grammys, multi-platinum sales and the #1 album release on Billboard’s Top 200 charts (Anomaly2014), Reach Records president and co-founder LECRAE dropped out
November 4e, he frees Church vestments 4, the latest in the mixtape series with 13 songs and features from Andy Mineo, WHATUPRG, nobigdyl, Jon Keith, AI The Anomaly and Jordan L’Oreal. In the last chapter of Church clothesLecrae reveals he’s “fair but ratchet”, explaining, “I’m a kid of hip-hop. I grew up on rap music, and God transitioned me and transformed me when I’m became a believer! After that, people felt that I didn’t belong in hip-hop anymore. Church clothes the series of mixtapes helped them realize that there is a place for artists like me. If Wu-Tang can spit out the 5% gems, Kendrick can talk about Hebrew Israelites, and Ice Cube and Lupe can declare their Islamic faith, why isn’t there room for Christian hip-hop artists? So the first Church clothes (released in 2012) was about me taking mine off and spitting out what’s in my heart.
Although he uses his talent to help people deepen their faith, his love for hip-hop is not limited to Christian hip-hop. In the Church vestments 4 sketches, he declares, ‘I like the trap and the church, E-40, and Jesus. You can add Tupac, Biggie, NWA, Lauryn Hill, Eazy-E, E-40, OutKast and many more to this list. In Andy Mineo’s previous version of the single and video, “I talked about ithe and Mineo even pay homage to the artists mentioned above.
“People struggle with the concept of me being fair and ratcheting. I’ve created music with Zaytoven and connected and collaborated with secular artists like Ty Dolla $ign. You don’t get the virtuous music you enjoy, without my ratchet side. The ratchet side is what gave birth to it. If I wasn’t sitting in my uncle’s car, listening to rap music in the hood, I wouldn’t have the skills or the heart that I have now. If I didn’t come from the environment that shaped me, I wouldn’t be on the west side of Atlanta helping open the Peace Preparatory Academy. You don’t get the right one without the ratchet! I am both at the same time. It’s fusion!
Its first single, “Spread The Opps”, is Lecrae asking God to spread the opposition. “There will always be opposition when you bring truth and reality. The Church clothes series brings both, so I expect to face opposition. But I stand on what I believe in and let God do the rest.
One of Lecrae’s favorite tracks on the album due to its lyrics, production and concept is “Fear Not”. “I helped co-produce this one. We had to bring in the Portuguese and the Yoruba to complete and make it a global track. It’s about not being afraid, standing firm on what you believe and know that God will work it out in the end.
A second favorite is “Still In America!” “By far, ‘Still In America’ is one of my favorite songs on Church vestments 4. It’s a reboot of ‘Welcome To America’ from my album Anomaly. In this song, I say that we are still in America. These issues are still the issues we deal with on a regular basis. There are divergences on both sides of the fence. I don’t care if you’re progressive, liberal or conservative. You have to look in the mirror, and every time your fingers are pointed, there are fingers pointing at you. We must all look to each other to walk together in unity.
The chemistry with Andy Mineo continues with “Good Lord,” a super fun track that Lecrae describes as nostalgic. “We’re going back to that 70s style of music. It’s just good hip-hop. It’s reminiscent of when music was fun! Good times!” The nostalgia continues with “Take Me Up” ft WHATUPRG. “We sampled the mega hits Bonz Thugs and Harmony, Crossroads. It brings that feeling we had back then, but it’s also a true story about the real members of my family, my friends and the desire to see things in a better light.
On his single “CC4”, Lecrae pays homage to where he started on CC1. “It’s a great production and just bars! I start with the same rhythm and the same concept, but this song has no good or bad. Everyone is likely to try their luck. For there to be unity, you have to expose reality from everyone’s point of view. The “I-45 freestyle” features additional vocals from Tedashii and brings the two back to their Texas roots. “On I-45, I let them know these guys from Texas have bars – Believe it or not, I still care about the craftsmanship and art of hip-hop. It’s important to me !
Equally poignant is “Deconstruction,” Lecrae shares, “Deconstruction is the heart and soul of the mixtape! Church vestments 4 has lots of toppings and side dishes, but deconstruction is meat on a plate. My heart bleeds ! You hear everything I went through and how I was able to rebuild on this particular song.
While “Deconstruction” takes you through the tough times, “We Did It” ft PJ Morton is a celebratory song. “This song is for people who felt left out. People doubted you, but by the power of God you did it! For every senior who graduated or just got out of debt, buy your first home, this song is your anthem,” Lecrae shares. He adds a shoutout to PJ Morton that features on the song. “PJ Morton is an incredible singer, artist, and inspiration. He’s a musical genius. I’d say he’s underrated, but he’s got tons of Grammys to say otherwise. It’s a dream to have it Church vestments 4.”
When he first recorded Church clothes“People were like, what is this? Is this Asian? Is this Mexican? Nah, this is teriyaki on a quesadilla. This is faith and hip-hop that meet and I’m the resulting child. So it’s not like a category that you can put in. It’s like concentric circles. A circle here and another here; where they overlap, that’s where you get someone like me. So no matter where you stand, there’s something for you on Church vestments 4hip-hop and faith!
“I am now at a place where I am building the framework for the future of CHH and hopefully expanding the faith in hip-hop globally. I also put a little skin on my faith. Martin Luther King Jr. put the skin on his faith. He didn’t just say I love God; he took to the streets and made sure people ate and protected their rights. In this post-George Floyd era, I can speak out about the realities affecting black and brown people inside and outside the church and challenge my white brothers and sisters to heed our voices. It is I who put the skin on my faith. when you listen Church vestments 4, no side has it all figured out. It starts with listening. For us to work together, we need to listen to each other! Church clothes it’s just me daring people to listen.