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For the rapper, a new life, a new message
November 10th, 2010
03:48 PM ET

For the rapper, a new life, a new message

Lecrae Moore moved around a lot as a child. He was constantly the new kid in school. It’s often a struggle to fit in when you always have to make new friends but Lecrae had a gift. He could rap.

Street battles were no problem. Breaking into some freestyle for his classmates was a piece of cake. But walking a straight line was difficult.

Moore had a tough childhood. He grew up without a father. His male role models were rap artists like Tupac.

“My world view at that point in time was what I saw on television,” he said recently on a visit to CNN Center. “I just [rapped] about what I esteemed to be, what I wanted to be like. Most of that was gangsterism, false sense of masculinity, money, women.”

But Moore’s world view changed when he went to college at North Texas.  He met some Christians who helped pull the underlying faith out of him. It seemed to have always been there but he grew up straddling the line between God and the enemy, he said.

Christian hip-hop star Lecrae talks about how his life turned after he was almost arrested for drug possession

Before he went to college Moore said he was the drug dealer with a good-luck charm, a Bible his devout grandmother gave him. He knew he could turn to it if he got in trouble.

Trouble came one night when he was about to be arrested for drug possession. He sat in the back of the squad car, handcuffed, distraught and lost, preparing to go to jail, when the officer asked him about the Bible in Lecrae’s car.

The officer wondered, what is that doing on your backseat?

“I told him I know I need to live it,” Moore said. According to Moore, the officer said if Moore would agree to do that, he would let him go.

The turnaround wasn’t a complete 180, and it took more people to convince Moore to dig into the Christian life, including those Christians on his college campus. Afterward, some of them would hang around and would rap about Jesus. The street battler in him came out, and a Christian hip-hop artist was born.

I asked him: Is he a rapper who preaches or a preacher who raps?

An easy smile came across his face and his introspective eyes pondered for a second.

“I think every rapper is a preacher, it’s what’s the sermon that they are giving,” he said. “Every rapper is preaching something. They are either preaching that you can find satisfaction in a million dollars or 50 women, or that you are not a real man unless you are a killer."

“I just look at myself as another individual who has a different message and a world view that I think is the most beneficial, the most helpful, and I’ll be honest, it’s the right one. Maybe not mine specifically but I think a Biblical world view is the right world view.”

Moore’s latest CD is “Rehab,” which hit No. 1 on the Billboard Christian albums chart and the Gospel albums list, sold more than 26,000 copies its first week. It also hit No. 5 on the rap albums chart.

It is a product of Reach Records, which he co-owns in Atlanta, Georgia. The label has four other Christian rappers, some of whom Lecrae thinks will be even more influential than he has been.

Moore also founded ReachLife Ministries, which seeks to "bridge the gap between biblical truth and the urban context," he said.

Rehab is a statement, a message to all that while there is much wrong in this world, there is a way to reshape your life, he said. We all need a sense of purpose, but we're all a bit messed up.

“We are fractured; this is a fractured world, but there is rehabilitation available through Jesus,” he said. “He came to save. He came to restore.”

Moore is currently back out on the road on the "Unashamed" tour.

- Producer/Writer

Filed under: Christianity • Culture & Science • Georgia • Music

soundoff (200 Responses)
  1. Margarita

    Lecrae's album is influencial. and truthful. keep doing rapping for the Lord. its all for HIM!!!!!!:D

    November 10, 2010 at 5:28 pm |
  2. JK

    Thanks CNN for posting this story. We're all proud of the work that Lecrae is doing. His future is bright, mostly in part, because he has the "Son" on his side!!!!

    November 10, 2010 at 5:25 pm |
  3. Kasonde

    May GOD CONTINUE 2 PROSPER U LECRAE IN YO MINISTRY

    November 10, 2010 at 5:22 pm |
    • Marrii

      Amen (:

      November 24, 2010 at 12:04 pm |
  4. American for Freedom not religion

    Here's his message: Carry around a Bible and hope your arresting officer likes everything about you including your "Bible".

    Millions of people just like Lecrae didn't bring their Bibles along and now have their lives deliberately ruined by the rabidly ridiculous Drug War.
    After all those non-violent criminals have "paid their debt to society", they will find that they are not forgiven, that everything is biased towards making it nearly impossible for them to start a new life – they can't vote, can't get gov't assistance, are not allowed to do a great many things including getting a job – and quickly find themselves re-offending.
    Whatever happened to rehabilitating these people? Everything is geared towards keeping the pressure on them to re-offend – they have no voice, no recourse to justice, and no hope of getting "released" – society becomes their prison for life thanks to all the prison industry lobbyists, law enforcement union lobbyists, and all the other slimy people who prefer to keep the unworkable and unwinnable Drug War up and running.
    The Drug War is too lucrative for those who make money off of it. Their unethical conduct in shaping the Drug War is nothing less than criminal.
    But bring a Bible with you. Real piece of work there. The cops have no duty to enforce the law in any case – they could let everyone go if they wanted – the Supreme Court said so.
    Respecting a religion enough to let you commit a crime and get away with it? Sounds like the Catholic Church pedo-priests have good company all around.

    November 10, 2010 at 5:22 pm |
    • another American

      Did you read the whole article? That's not his message at all...
      When he got busted with the Bible in the back of his car, that was BEFORE he turned his life around and committed it to Christ. The deal the officer gave him was that he would let him go if he started living more like we're told in the Bible, and he didn't right away.
      Fast forward to present: his current message is that everyone needs redemption, and there is "rehab" (the theme of his new album) available to everyone, and that we should live holy lives which, by the way, would not require legal intervention. The label that Lecrae co-owns, and those like it, are active in reaching out to urban communities and specifically to those caught in the drug culture. Thi'sl and J'son are two examples of this. Both of them were drug dealers and users until Christian rappers like Lecrae (Flame, in Thi'sl's case) reached out to them and they straightened out and turned around to help others in the same way. Actually, Lecrae is also a story about this himself, according to this article...
      I'm out of time now, but I hope you have a wonderful day!

      November 10, 2010 at 5:47 pm |
    • Jesse Miller

      um im not catholic the roman catholic church murdered real christians get your facts straight i dont pray to marry or pretend to drink jesus blood and try and earn my way to heaven and if you even LISTENED to Lecrae that pretty much all he raps about systamatic theology wich is probably a little to over your head so all you can do is hate and be ignorant..repent now sinner!

      November 10, 2010 at 7:02 pm |
    • another American

      Jesse Miller–Let me encourage you to speak with grace, since we have been shown much Grace ourselves...

      November 11, 2010 at 11:04 pm |
    • AJ's Girl

      Let’s put the focus back on Jesus where it belongs. Lacrae was lost and obviously not living right and has been saved and redeemed by Christ and now shares the hope he has with others. We all have a different story about how we came to know Christ, and God will use many different tools, methods, people to reach us…..just so happens that his testimony involved a cop, drugs and the Bible. The message is not to carry around a Bible, so you can get away with breaking the law. The message here is that Jesus is our answer and only hope in life! I once was lost, but now I am found. God has the power to change any life. I am thankful that he does share his testimony with us though, because I am sure it encourages those who may be involved in a similar lifestyle….I know his music encourages me!

      November 12, 2010 at 12:14 pm |
    • Tony of Hazakim

      Typical annoying atheist dribble. They claim that, in the end we all die and cease to exist in any form....yet they make it the mission of their accidental, random, purposeless life to "wake others from the mythology that is Christianity".....I dont get it. They should better spend their time flooding message boards for things they DO believe in.....you know, like nihilism, sleeping with as many people as possible, getting away with as much cheating as possible.....or they could just get A LIFE...IN MESSIAH JESUS that is. – Tony

      November 13, 2010 at 8:43 am |
  5. ash

    For the skeptics, Lecrae is the real deal. Whether you like him or not, his music is reaching lost and dying in the name of Jesus. Jesus told us in his word we would be persecuted as he was.....

    November 10, 2010 at 5:19 pm |
    • talon10

      Who cares what a mythical fairytale figure had to say 2000 years ago. Get a brain.

      November 11, 2010 at 11:42 am |
    • sleepytime

      Yeah, Christians love to pretend they're being persecuted. It's a pretty silly claim for the dominant religion to make though.

      November 11, 2010 at 1:05 pm |
    • James

      Mythical? Any historian (Christian and nonChristian ) will tell you Jesus existed.

      November 11, 2010 at 1:30 pm |
    • Tony of Hazakim

      HAHAHA....only a bunch of atheists would take minutes out of their accidental, purposeless, random day to flood message boards with comments against Jesus.......HEY ATHEISTS......according you you we'll all be dead (and consequently non-existant) in a short while. Once we all cease to exist, will it matter that you were more "rational" than the rest of us or that we were duped into believing in Jesus? Why the "righteous mission" to wake others from religious brainwashing if, in the end, we'll all die the same and it won't matter? The fact is that you HATE God more than you don't believe in Him. Get lives guys. -Tony

      November 13, 2010 at 8:40 am |
    • Donald Chavis

      Don't be mad Talon and Sleepy... We have purpose beyond here! Concequently your beliefs won't let you make it past a casket and six feet of dirt. Come wit us and see 2000 years and some...

      You say our religion is dominant, that I don't dispute and we're being "killed" (which we are), just look past the US and throughout history as it will become evident. Then why is it we remain dominant... Don't loose on purpose! 😉 If you know we wrong, then know it!

      November 13, 2010 at 2:42 pm |
    • vike90

      This is for sleepytime. You are very narrow-minded to say that Christians "pretend" we are being persecuted. Please open up your mind and look beyond America. In America, the persecution is subtle. This is not the case in other countries all across the world. Many more Christians abroad are murdered and imprisoned for being Christians than any other religion is persecuted for simply believing something. Christianity is outlawed in many countries. In Asia, the Middle East, and North Africa, Christians are being imprisoned and killed every day. Those prisons that Christians are in are NOTHING like the Resorts we have in America. Check your facts before you make ignorant statements like that, please. God's grace be with us all.

      February 2, 2011 at 1:30 am |
  6. KD

    Lecrea has fans all around th world.... I salute you,man,all the way from Kenya. God bless!

    November 10, 2010 at 5:18 pm |
    • peye

      yeah. I'm a big fan in Nigeria.

      November 14, 2010 at 8:23 pm |
  7. J-Co

    Lecrae is an awesome soldier for Christ and his music, along with all of the reach records fam, is amazing! I encourage you to check out Real talk, After the Music Stops, Rebel, and Rehab. All amazing albums by lecrae have their own unique flavor!

    November 10, 2010 at 5:18 pm |
  8. joel

    This cd is fire!!! Lecrae is God's voice in the projects. A true follower of Christ. He music is so inspirational. Another man who def knows the Word of God! Like a voice shouting in the desert, make a straight path for the Lord!! Great job Lecrae!!

    November 10, 2010 at 5:13 pm |
  9. whyone

    CNN — Big props on this article. I grew up on artist like Tupac, Kilo, Too Live Crew, NWA, etc... and I wish I had a Lecrae or a Reach Records back then. Holy Hip-Hop is what I prefer to feed the young people around me so i'm thankful I have this music now! Keep 'em coming!!!!

    November 10, 2010 at 5:13 pm |
  10. Nathan

    You are an inspiration.Your songs and life experiences always put me back on track with my walk with Christ.God bless you lecrae.

    November 10, 2010 at 5:05 pm |
  11. Jonas

    Lecrae is more than talented he is simply gifted,one the greatest rappers secular or gospel without a doubt,rehab best cd of the year

    November 10, 2010 at 5:04 pm |
  12. Dems2012

    Solid article. Thanks for posting CNN

    November 10, 2010 at 5:04 pm |
  13. AJ's Girl

    I am huge fan of Lecrae's music and love his REBEL and REHAB albums! God saves people of all colors, cultures, ages, walks of life and professions, etc. I'm thankful He chose to save Rappers! What an awesome testimony and what an awesome way to reach the world for Christ!

    November 10, 2010 at 5:03 pm |
  14. Shannon

    This guy is no joke! I totally agree with Nathan – it's as well produced as anything out that and trumps most of it.

    November 10, 2010 at 4:59 pm |
  15. Talitha

    Lecrae and others like him have truly redeemed rap!
    He's a solid artist both biblically and musically speaking.
    Keep rapping the gospel Lecrae!
    =)

    November 10, 2010 at 4:58 pm |
  16. Dan

    REHAB WAS A DOPE DOPE ALBUM!!...Lecrae has Helped me soooo Much through his ministry....he has helped me to grow spiritually..increase in knowledge..and to understand that the Things Glorified Through Modern Rappers aren't things that will SATISFY ME..and that only the Lord Jesus can Satisfy me Eternally...thank you Lecrae..stand firm and continue in your race...i bought the album and it will def open your eyes

    November 10, 2010 at 4:57 pm |
  17. Maluda

    Godbless REHAB is a blessin

    November 10, 2010 at 4:57 pm |
  18. Kevin

    Thanks for posting this story, CNN. It's a good read.

    November 10, 2010 at 4:42 pm |
  19. JoeDC

    I preffer Greydon Square.

    November 10, 2010 at 4:33 pm |
    • C-LO

      haha Greydon doesn't even make sense. He backs up his thinking with his own opinions, not facts. just sayin

      November 10, 2010 at 5:08 pm |
    • JoeDC

      C-Lo: "haha Greydon doesn't even make sense."

      I disagree, I find that he makes a lot of sense.

      "He backs up his thinking with his own opinions, not facts."

      Again, I disagree, but even if I accepted this as true and nothing of what he said was supported by facts – So what? The majority of what he talks about is value judgments that he makes on the subject of religion and religious practice. By default, those are going to be opinions regardless of how many facts you cite to support them.

      Out of curiosity could you cite a song of his for which your comment holds true? I could be wrong I suppose – but I find his songs to be fairly fact-based.

      "just sayin"

      Why include this asinine closer to your comment? Of course you’re “just sayin” it is a comment composed by you that is (ironically) entirely based on your factually vacant opinion. Are you trying to look stupid or what?

      November 10, 2010 at 7:04 pm |
    • Tony of Hazakim

      Too bad Greydon is a mediocre emcee who has never & will never sell as many units as Lecrae. :C

      November 13, 2010 at 8:36 am |
  20. Megatron

    It's like Eric Cartmans says. No talent? Sing Christian songs and people will buy your albums.

    November 10, 2010 at 4:00 pm |
    • nathan

      Megatron,
      Lecrae's album is as solid as any album in the bizz right now. Have you even listened to it?

      November 10, 2010 at 4:39 pm |
    • Gaillour

      Hey listen to the album before saying anything, he could easily make it secularly if he wanted to.

      November 10, 2010 at 5:01 pm |
    • Raleigh

      are you kidding? his music is as great as anyother secular rapper.

      November 10, 2010 at 5:02 pm |
    • whyone

      U should consider listening if you haven't. I don't listen to any Gospel music just because it's "Gospel" because everything under that label isn't by default "the Gospel". Perhaps you just aren't a fan of HipHop? If so there are plenty of other quality artists cross genre. Either way, you should take note that Holy Hip-Hop has really grown.

      There is music out now that has steller production and lyrics. REAL HIP-HOP. REAL MUSIC. That could stand tastefully with ur top 10 secular music. One benefit though... the message is life not destruction. Gotta love that!

      Give it a chance megatron. All decepticons don't have to be deceived 🙂 God bless.

      November 10, 2010 at 5:04 pm |
    • Scott Larrison

      The proof is in the pudding with Lecrae. He is the real deal. Check yourself. "So speak and so act, as those who are to be judged by the law of liberty. For judgment will be merciless to one who has shown no mercy; mercy triumphs over judgment." (James 2:12-13)

      November 10, 2010 at 5:04 pm |
    • Trey

      The brother is not in it for the money

      November 10, 2010 at 5:05 pm |
    • whyone

      with that said check out reachrecords.com artist line up.... Sho Baraka, Trip Lee, Tedashii, DJ Official is nice... I can put u up on some other Christian artists cross genre too. 🙂 J.R. rocks... Good Christian music is out there 🙂

      November 10, 2010 at 5:07 pm |
    • Kerria Snow

      not all Christian music, be it rap or whatever is good. However no one who is a fan of real rap/ hip hop would deney his talent. No believer can deny the truth he spits. I study the word listening to him (and other reach artist). It's all biblical truth.

      November 10, 2010 at 5:18 pm |
    • Liz

      This coming from a South Park enthusiast?

      November 10, 2010 at 6:39 pm |
    • Jesse Miller

      wow thats sad you get your opinions and views from eric cartman Lecrae is one of the best rappers alive i have listen to both mainstream and christian rap and honestly christian rap has never been that good until a couple of years ago when reach records was formed.

      November 10, 2010 at 6:49 pm |
    • Jesse Miller

      megatron probably listens to justin bieber, LECRAE IS AWESOME!!!

      November 10, 2010 at 6:54 pm |
    • Michelle Gonzales

      @megatron...i would suggest you form your own opinion...you are missing out!!!! 🙂 this is an awesome man of God that is using his gift the way God intended...

      November 10, 2010 at 8:37 pm |
    • glady

      IT's real easy to talk out the side of your neck about someone's talent when you have no basis for it. His albums are more that solid. He is one of the best MC's out there period. I had the same thought about Christian rappers until I heard him and his label, andthey opened me up to many artist that truly love God and bring ABOVE QUALITY music. When I was A new Christian that was my struggle, "why does the music have be so wack?" then Reach Records and others like them shut me up.

      November 10, 2010 at 10:38 pm |
    • Seenit

      Hey man, saw that episode, thought it was funny and true, but you know what, give "Don't Waste Your Life" by Lecrae a listen and tell me he's not talented as all get out. There are some talented Christian musicians out there, but even if there wasn't, message still be true.

      November 10, 2010 at 11:24 pm |
    • Jezmundberserker

      Weird that as a jew one would agree with a cartoon character with a penchant for extreme anti-semitism. But Cartman was 100% right.

      November 11, 2010 at 11:50 am |
    • Abner

      That's what they used to say in the '80s. But since the '90s, Christian music has produced a lot of quality music, including some things being played on mainstream labels. The fact is that it's as good today as anything you can find on the mainstream market.

      November 11, 2010 at 11:52 am |
    • I Killed Kenny

      Liz – South Park has been around for over 10 years and going strong...i hope your boy here gets the same chance but obscurity comes quickly to musicians of today. Not that I consider rap "art" or even "music" but thats just my opinion. I have mine and the genius who will yell at me have theirs. Nobody is right on that topic.

      November 11, 2010 at 11:59 am |
    • nwtdarcy

      come on we all know there is no god !!!

      November 11, 2010 at 12:13 pm |
    • Bull 6

      Yep, I rest my case, it's open season on Christians, the overweight, and smokers. Feel free to spit all of the most hurtful things you can at those groups and it's OK. Now if there's anything else that sets someone apart from being what libs accept as their norm, you can't say a thing, you're prejudice and need to go back to PC camp where you learn who it's ok to make fun of. You get called a racist if you call a guy a terrorist who is a bearded man with a turban, brandishing an AK-47 and wearing a suicide vest if he's muslim.

      WAKE UP. Oh yeah, if I get censored, the person pulling this is part of the problem. God forbid we hurt someone's feelings. Hypocrites.

      November 11, 2010 at 2:02 pm |
    • Mike

      Megatron

      Although I do agree partly with your comment, but if you check out his music and then can say the same thing, I'd be surprised. Give it a look and let me know. He is very talented and amazing from a rapper stand point.

      November 11, 2010 at 2:27 pm |
    • T Da TruFE

      Thats what it seems like, everything is a gimmick, even a good message, forget this garbage, check out REAL Hip Hop that has substance and passion, CHECK OUT MY MUSIC!!! reverbnation.com/tdatrufe

      November 11, 2010 at 4:05 pm |
    • aca

      You are obviously not that bright if you are quoting a cartoon character.

      November 11, 2010 at 5:01 pm |
    • Rene

      It's funny how people can automatically judge an artist or album just based on the face that it's 'gospel'. Try actually listening to it first. I listen to 'secular' rap 90% of the time but Lecrae is just as talented as any of them.

      November 11, 2010 at 5:30 pm |
    • 2 Peace

      Hey Megatron,
      If I played for you some black Gospel music right now......

      I bet your monkeya$$ would start dancing! LMHO!!

      November 11, 2010 at 6:56 pm |
    • bill

      I just LOVE when the dullards start quoting eric cartman as a serious character. Don't you guys get it? Eric Cartman is complete satire of all the bigoted crap that still gets spewed out today. Matt and Trey are making fun of you, and you don't catch the joke!

      November 11, 2010 at 7:14 pm |
    • LaDiva

      Actually it takes more talent to sing Christian music than worldly music. Ppl are so fickle nowadays that any little bit of noise will be considered music. Christian music on the other hand has to work that much harder to open the hearts of hardened hearts.

      November 12, 2010 at 7:47 am |
    • Meagan

      I've met Lecrae and seen him perform on several occasions because my brother is in the Christian music industry and has played shows with him.

      I am SUPER unreligious but he really is very talented!
      btw, I freakin LOVE South Park!! 😀

      November 12, 2010 at 3:12 pm |
    • Jason

      Lecrae, has been putting the Gospel in his rhymes for an extremely long time. The Gospel is not a better life or living morally, its reconciliation with God through the death of Christ to satisfy the wrath of God for the forgivness of sins. As long as the gospel is preached, Lecrae and Reach Records will bear good things for Christ.

      November 12, 2010 at 4:41 pm |
    • peye

      that used 2 be the case. chek the rehab album on youtube b4 make anoda comment. these guys are goooooooood.u might wanna chek trip lee, thi'sl, tedashii, sho baraka. they aint wack. from ur comment u obviously havnt listened

      November 14, 2010 at 8:14 pm |
    • Jamie Pearson

      Get a grip of your life.

      November 22, 2010 at 10:55 am |
    • Q da GeorgiaBoy a.k.a. Da Armor Bearer

      By far, Lacrae is at the top of the Gospel Rap game. When I, myself, or anybody else I know started listenin' to Christian/Gospel Rap music... Lacrae was the 1st name you heard or were told of. Then followed everybody else in the 116 Clique. Listenin' to Reach recoding artists is what inspired me to stop writin' "worldly/secular" hip-hop music. Its an encouragement to know that our God can and will use everything for His glory!

      Much love and God bless!

      ~Da Armor Bearer

      November 29, 2010 at 4:06 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.