Title: After The Music Stops
Label: Cross Movement Records 2006
Sorry Malice, sorry Hov, but Lecrae’s the real reason my favorite emcee is no longer my favorite. As a Christian, I have to say that I’ve almost always hated Christian rap. It’s made me cringe since I was a shorty.
Between Hammer’s Pray, Kirk Franklin’s joints and even Ye’s Jesus Walks from last year. I thought that nobody would ever do this thing even close to right. (And of course, you gotta walk the talk, so maybe Mr. West is a stretch—not that I’m throwin’ stones with all the bones in my closet. (But that’s another story.)
Anyway, Mr. Real Talk is back with a beast of a follow-up. Lecrae’s AFTER THE MUSIC STOPs is easily one of the strongest hiphop albums of ’06.
Why? For starters ‘Crae does three things exceptionally well as an emcee: (1) bring consistent concepts, (2) liquid flows (3) and a rarity—an entire album free of battle rhymes doubling as song lyrics. Lemme repeat: At no point does LeCrae stoop to insulting women, rival emcees, or excessively extolling himself in his 16s and calling those verses. Now if ‘Crae sucked, none of the above would matter. Fortunately, he brings the propane on every track. (Imagine Ludacris circa Block Lockdown or UGK circa “Ridin’ Dirty”.)
For example: “Jesus muzik!” Left me gawking at my speakers sideways in disbelief: Imagine UGK or Slimm Thug turned born-agains spitting defiantly about the joys of Christian music thumpin’ over a DJ Screw beat on the open road. (You gotta hear it to believe it. You might be embarrassed by how much you’ll like it.)
And save for a couple sluggish exceptions (“I did it for you”), ATMS’ beats knock harder than a mob of Jehovah’s Witnesses on E. Ever wonder what hyped dancehall emcees like Sizzla might sound like spittin’ scripture? Listen to “Run”. Even “it’s your world” (feat. Sho, who stole it on Tha Church—comes thru with his pimped-out preacher flo) is hilarious. “He made it 6 but he’ll only take 1 to crumble it/The earth rumbles at the sound of His mumble/and he flooded it once/but with Noah he made a covenant.” Genius writing whether you believe the message or not.
The closest Crae gets to a diss is a possible reference to T.I. on “The King”: “These self-proclaimed kings braggin’ cuz they on chrome/but 26 inches is a pretty low throne/like kids playin’ they daddy’s clothes when he’s gone/but the clothes don’t fit and Daddy’s comin’ back home.”
But even here it’s clear he’ he’s battling vanity and arrogance of rappers in general as much as anything. And again, kid’s flow is phenomenal
And will lines like “the existence of an atheist proves God exists” give you second thoughts about your faith? I dunno. But his flo is so tight, you’re liable to repeat some of ‘em with a giggle. And when you hear “the earth was so impressed with His defeat of the grave/the ground did the Harlem shake, the ocean did the wave,” you gotta giggle.
Overall, if you like quality hiphop and want some uplifting messages that’ll sink in and make you think after a couple spins, you’ll like LeCrae.
Hadji Williams is a writer, teacher and author. He’s also looking for hot music to review.