Lecrae “Church Clothes mixtape” (album review)

36

Reach Records (May 10, 2012)
Review by LaRosa

If you haven’t heard the name Lecrae in the last year, you have probably been sleeping under a rock. In 2010 he released his fourth studio album Rehab. Not long after in January of the following year he released a follow-up titled Rehab: The Overdose. Then, in September he re-released both albums as a joint album (Rehab Deluxe). Oh, did I mention that he was a part of one of the BET Hip-Hop Awards Cypher? So, yeah, if you haven’t heard the name of this Reach Records artist, you should probably wake up & take notice.

After holding his own in the BET cypher, Lecrae essentially became a household name overnight, both in the Christian & secular markets. Using his new-found celebrity status in the mainstream hip-hop market to his favor, Lecrae has teamed up with DJ Don Cannon to release a free mixtape titled Church Clothes. With this mixtape, Lecrae has joined forces with many notable producers and a couple of notable artists in an effort to take the message of Jesus Christ to the masses. With plenty of hype surrounding this album, the question is: will it live up to the hype? It’s not a simple yes or no answer; instead, the answer is both yes and no.

With DJ Don Cannon’s certifiable stamp of approval, there’s a lot to like about Church Clothes. First and foremost, there’s the historical factor, which cannot be overlooked. There has never been an album by a Christian hip-hop artist that has received this much promotion in both the Christian & mainstream markets. That being said, let’s talk about the music. For what it is, this album is like nothing that we’ve heard from Lecrae before. In times past, what we typically heard from Lecrae was either hearty southern sounds or music that was borderline hip-pop (or pop-rap or whatever you want to call it). This time, you’re getting grimy & authentic east coast type hip-hop beats from producers like Wit, ThaInnaCircle, 9th Wonder, S-1, and Boi-1da to name a few. Over those beats you’re getting the Lecrae that many have been longing for: a rapper with steez and just rapping hard. Instead of trying to make music that sounds like what’s popular on the radio, Church Clothes offers you some authentic street hip-hop that is worthy of radio & the underground. For all that this album has going for it, it is still only an average album at best. While both the production and lyrics were solid all around, there isn’t anything about Church Clothes that makes it stand out from the music that’s currently out on the market or being circulated in the mixtape circuit. If there’s one standout on this album it would have to be “Misconception” featuring the Humble Beast crew. This song is stellar and alone makes this mixtape worth downloading. The only thing that could have made that song better is if Odd Thomas’ verse had been last.

All in all, you can’t help but say that this album achieved its goal. Lecrae took a huge risk in marketing himself to the mainstream media, and he did so without compromising his message. If this were an album that you had to pay for, it probably would be a bit disappointing; but, for it to be free, it’s a very quality release, especially given the notable names that lent a hand in making this happen. If this is the Lecrae that we can expect on future releases, then I would say the future is very bright for him. Either way, he has made a lot of new fans who will likely go back & check out his prior albums as well as his future ones.

Watch the video for “Church Clothes” on YouTube and get the free download of the Church Clothes mixtape at Datpiff.

Purchase: Shop for Lecrae CDs

36 COMMENTS

  1. Wow…I gotta agree with Runaway – very surprising review. I’m by no means a Lecrae fanboy, but I thought this release was incredible. The whole thing just flows well, from beginning to end. And those last two joints…are you kidding me?!? What an awesome way to end a mixtape aimed at the “mainstream” – so much passion behind it. He’s gunna change a lot of lives with this one imo. Best production and best lyrically of any Lecrae album I’ve heard.

  2. I totally agree with this review, I listened to the album, the only reason I would’ve of downloaded it was for Misconception. I am a Humble Beast fan, but not to be bias I gave every track a hard critical listen. Something shifted when Misconception came on. Odd Thomas should of anchored that track for real, after he finished his verse I dropped my head like “dude killed it”. I think that track forced Lecrae to step it up a notch too.

  3. Nah…Lecrae didn’t step it up, he just fit in with the Humble Beast dudes and it surprised you 😉 …I will say that Humble Beast is probably the best lyrically of any label I can think of – but it’s not always 100% lyrics that determines “what’s good”. Lecrae is incredibly passionate and confident when he spits and people are drawn to that. The dude is an obvious leader and his fan base is getting ridiculous. And because of that the Humble Beast cats just got over 100k listens in < 24hrs!

  4. Yeah I like the mixtape. Lecrae did bring a different sound to it. Also having been a listener of Statik Selektah, DJ premier, and 9th wonder(Little Brother) for years I am excited to see lecrae getting some top notch production. I think Lecrae will sound even better in the future. I’m excited though.

  5. I appreciate yalls heart for music and CHH in particular. But I must say that this perhaps the best album ive heard all year. Not only is the production spot on, but the lyrics are hitting. I mean it is so fresh, and I think that it fully embodies what music should be: an outward expression of the artist’s heart. His lyrics are imaginative, real, and above all not corny or lame. He made Christ sound like an avenue of hope, versus a dry, uncaring taskmaster. I just must say that I am extremely surprised by this review. This is no doubt his best work quality wise, ever.

  6. I disagree. I thought the album was fire. I knew he was a christian rapper but didn’t care. I would have purchased it and been just as happy.

  7. Disagree with the review. This album was outstanding. Lecrae came with very different style we haven’t heard before from him. It shows him growing as an artist. And with the producers that he has on the tracks made special for all hip-hop not just Christian hip hop. Great mix tape.

  8. Dear WOW,
    Please read our rules. Several comments and multiple names is a no go.

    Calling us an “idiot”? Really?

    We’re really sorry you disagree. As much as you’re entitled to an opinion, so are we. We respect yours, please respect yours.

  9. @ theclark – I think we are in essence saying the same thing just in different ways. Let’s pray for Lecrae he’s going to get a lot attention and he continually needs to have wisdom and protection from deception. He put forth a valid effort to get the message out into the culture and that’s fresh.

  10. Lol! He took away my comment! What an idiot. You cant stand criticism and you dish one out?? Nahh, this review fails. Just glad you will be reading THIS!!! Ha ha ha

  11. As someone who hasn’t ever bought a Lecrae album, this review was great. Because I get the sense that the reviewer and I have wanted similar things out of Lecrae in the past that this mix-tape is giving us, I actually think this sounds like something I’d pick up. I am excited for a more east coast sounding Lecrae and I hope that he continues to move toward a more “hip hop” sound. Don’t get me wrong, Lecrea is crazy good at what he does, just it the sound I go to for my hip hop fix.

  12. I enjoy any free album that gets put out. Like most, it had some bangers along with some duds.

  13. I like the review yet I think that most of those that have not heard of Lecrae will appreciate his fervor and passion for the Lord.

    This Mixtape spoke to me when I was on the verge of losing hope. My connection with Christ was not as strong as it should have been before this project. God spoke to me all last week and I took the time to hear what he was saying!

    Songs like “Inspiration,” “Sacrifice,” and “Rise” were my favorites. “Misconception” is an awesome that provides promise for the future of CHH, it also shows that Crae can hold his own.

    We need to remember that one’s opinion is just that. We all are entitled to opinions without the use of demeaning language.

    Love you all,
    Patrick

  14. Yeah, I thought the review is a little harsh too. The album is awesome & Lecrae’s best work to date. Like anything subjective, you have to take it with a grain of salt.

  15. I will defo keep listening to ‘Rise’ and the track with No Malice – none of the other tracks really grabbed me. The Humble Beast track seemed a bit awkward to me (and I love Humble Beast a lot – I’m just being honest!)

  16. By my name alone should tell u how I feel about this jaw dropping Album!!!! And further more as a hip-hop head myself, this is the purest most flawless mic skills that I’ve ever heard! The opening track, and the last two tracks sum up the passion of Crae’s heart…I’m still in awe of this beautiful art!…”my sixteen is my sermon/get cha hands up in the service!…the way I eat this beat, you’d think I was a starving artist!!”(lyrics from Spazz Out) ONEONESIX TIL THE DEATH!!! JESUS IS KING,LORD AND SAVIOR!!

  17. Cowboy – They have been a combination of: “you suck”, “you should quit”, “you are wack” / “wack review” and so forth 😉

  18. This can’t be a coincidence that a lot of people disagree with this review. I have been following Lecrae since Real Talk. Many (Swoope and Andy Mineo to name a couple) have said this is lyrically his work, and I agree. I have been listening to this mixtape almost non-stop since I downloaded it. After listening to it, I felt like I should have paid for it, it’s that hot. So say it would be disappointing to buy lets me know that this review is more about the mixtape not being a Humble Beast style mixtape than it not being good. It seems that the reviewer was looking for most of the tracks to be like Misconception in order to be dope. One thing Lecrae has always been is versatile and Church Clothes shows that as well. It’s ironic that the XXL review gives more nods to the mixtape than this one does. Truth in Love. Preach!

  19. I have to respectfully disagree with this review. Hands down this is one of the best hip hop albums/mixtape of the year. Not only in the Christian category but all of hip hop. Lecrae achieved what he wanted in this mixtape in being visible to another market but also showing the world that God filled emcee can reach the world. Bottom to top the beats are top notch with Black Rose is completely and utterly disgusting! ‘Crae and No Malice totally ate Darkest Hour track. (Jesus saw the judge/They both offered you life!) Plus dont underestimate that he managed to covered darn near every side of hip hop sound. The commerical, the underground, the east and the south. Love welcome to H-Town! When was the last time ANY Christian artist was given an XL in XXL mag? Simply put Lecrae managed to put out a album that has made history but pure hip hop lovers will continue to support and listen to years to come. Be blessed!

    dj dirt henning

  20. I thought the mixtape was pretty straight. And this is coming from a person that dislikes mixtapes (oversaturation) and who has never bought a Lecrae album (just not my style of music to listen too). I guess technically I still haven’t bought one since it was a free download. Ha. Anyway, I liked it much better than I thought I would. Misconception is my favorite joint and I agree with the reviewer… Odd Thomas could’ve top it off. But hey, it’s Lecrae’s mixtape right? In all I think he introduced more people to Christ through Christ-based hip hop. Mission accomplished.

  21. I dont mind the review at all. However, as a fan, I would really like to hear a more specific critique of the songs on the mixtape. That helps me better understand the review. Personally, I love it because it was so much more refreshing and mature than his other projects. Dont mind yall be critical of it tho. Thats what we need to hear

  22. Your rant on twitter lead me to the site. I love hip hop so I checked out the site. I see what the rant is talking about, this review. I think on the flip side of this, you guys have to take the critic from the fans. For me, this is one of the best mixtapes I have heard in a min. Great beats, lyrics that are challenging, and wonderful collabs. Your boy heart is laid out on this joint. There are probably 2 tracks on here I would buy, simply because I am not a huge east coast rap fan. Misconception is tight though….. Keep making it do what it do concerning the site.

  23. Seriously, Misconception is the only song I listen to, over and over and over. I seriously can’t get into the other songs. They hit me flat. Just a matter of preference. Misconception is simply raw and a kick to the Spiritual pants. I love being challenged by Hip Hip, like when I listen to Lojique’s “Swallow Crow,” I am humbled every time. The other songs on the album don’t do that for me. Also, I’m not much of a synthetic beat man; I can tell when the majority of the beat is not sample based and that, personally, hurts my ears.

  24. I just wish this review didn’t come out so fast. I mean what was it one day or maybe a few hours after the release. I know it takes me several good listens to form an unbiased opinion. I’m pretty sure if he did the review now it would change for better or for worse who knows. One thing I noticed is he gave better production credits for Trip Lee’s album then for this! How in the World???? :/

  25. Quest – It’s only a review 😉 Scores and opinions are what they are. Not every writer for us will enjoy the same things about the same albums.

  26. This mixtape is the best thing going in all of hip-hop…Lecrae is in a class of his own…Praise GOD!!!

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