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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. Dave

    I am a gay rapper pushing for marriage rights, I challenge this man to a rap off.

    November 11, 2010 at 12:00 pm |
    • Def Jam is Out of Bizness

      You must be looking for Kanye homie...

      November 11, 2010 at 12:06 pm |
  2. Ituri

    A super-religious rapper with a message. How original. No doubt he uses the same gangster cr*p to peddle his garbage as any other rapper. Toss in "Jesus" here and there, and they will buy.

    November 11, 2010 at 11:34 am |
    • Ignorance Is Bliss

      Not at all, you must be thinking DMX? This is no where near what you just described. Please check out the album before you start typing.

      November 11, 2010 at 11:43 am |
  3. Joel3

    Get on ya 116. Father, give them eyez so they can see, and ears so they can hear...

    November 11, 2010 at 9:20 am |
  4. Reality

    Would Lecrae Moore qualify for America's Got Talent? Yes he would. Would he win? No, as his rapping is generic.

    And if he was not a good rapper, does that then give him the right to be a gangster? Of course not. Being good takes no talent. It simple means being mature and it is time we all realize this. And you definitely do not need Christianity to follow the simple rule of DO NO HARM!!!

    November 11, 2010 at 8:14 am |
  5. rousehouse6

    Unashamed! Living & loving life on purpose! Lecrae has been a gr8 example of serving & living out biblical truth, actually all of Reach Records Family has exemplified Christ truth!!!! They r doing ministry where life exist!!!

    November 11, 2010 at 7:53 am |
  6. Rep_the_King

    Im so happy to see people like Lecrae reppin the King and getting face time with secular news broadcasts. Its just one way that the gospel is being spread.

    November 11, 2010 at 5:34 am |
    • sleepytime

      He reps Elvis?

      November 11, 2010 at 12:43 pm |
  7. Kristen

    The album is awesome!!! My husband and I have all of his previous albums as well and the growth in Lecrae as a Christian and artist is awesome to see/hear. Before taking my Christian walk serious I was a big hip hop lover, but in my growth in Christ I realized I couldn't listen to the negative message that the world puts out. But a friend put us on to the whole Reach Records movement. Admittedly I was skeptical at first but after listening I realized I'd found the music I had been looking for! A positive message in the Lord, with positive influences for all people. I would encourage you to give it a listen if you haven't already. This music is life changing... Be Blessed.

    November 11, 2010 at 2:40 am |
  8. Allan

    keep representing! Walkin on water is my jam!! your ministry is amazing. Thanks to CNN for giving him a spotlight

    November 11, 2010 at 12:14 am |
  9. Drew Hall

    Megatron, I write music and it is all inspired by what God has done in my life. I would never sign with a record company that I didn't think represent Scripture well enough, no matter how popular they could make me! I'm not saying my music is good or bad, I'm just saying that there are some genuine people who have been so powerfully moved by the Love of Christ that anything less than representing his name is trash. Lecrae seems to be one of those people. I don't know him personally but his music exhales the breathe of truth. I know he has gone to Sudan to help people in need. I personally go to the college he went to and know people that are effected by the ministry that he and other Christian rappers started. I don't expect everyone to understand why we do what we do, all I know is I've found a Shalom (Peace) that is far greater than anything I've ever experienced in Jesus Christ my Savior.

    November 10, 2010 at 10:18 pm |
  10. TheRationale

    Delusional music sells.

    November 10, 2010 at 8:44 pm |
    • Elliot

      That is true just look at the Beatles. Lecrae's music, however, is not delusional it is Biblical. I used to hate rap before hearing this album and some others like it.

      November 10, 2010 at 11:10 pm |
  11. Jess Guemmer

    So encouraged by you bro.... keep reppin Christ. He's usin you to change peoples lives thru hip hop

    November 10, 2010 at 8:04 pm |
  12. Samantha Steele

    Wow, I am beaming with joy at this report. I follow Lecrae and Trip-Lee on Twitter as well as Facebook. Have both Rebel and Rehab planning to buy the previous albums. This man is a blessing and vessel for the Lord's message–God will reach you anyway he can. Like the greatest teacher he will find a way to get on OUR level. Lecrae is a conduit of God's ability to transform and elevate anyone for his cause who is willing to be used. I prayed and encouraged others to pray and I know from FB posts others were praying as well for just this lol. Satan is a liar and he is being defeated with this NATIONAL coverage-How Great is that?!!!!:) Support the message that we can be rehabilitated-Step One Buy Rehab and let God take you to Step Two. #1 Christmas Gift on my list

    November 10, 2010 at 7:44 pm |
  13. AJ

    I personally believe this is just the beginning for Lecrae and everyone in reach records. Eventually they will be known world wide like the pope or billy graham. Their focus is total ministry and it shows. They aren't trying to be superstars, or rich, or have power. 50 cents first album....'Get Rich or Die Trying'......I think Reach Records is Reaching the Lost at any cost....and Die Trying..... They're real. Helped change my life with one album.

    November 10, 2010 at 7:28 pm |
  14. Karla Colas (Miami)

    When I first hear that CD, it was just a blessing from God. He is really good and I know a lot of people will change for the glory of God.. Jesus is great!!!

    November 10, 2010 at 7:20 pm |
  15. Scott W

    I'd like to start some discussion for all you Lecrae fans: Which album did you like better, Rebel or Rehab and why?

    November 10, 2010 at 7:19 pm |
    • Erlend Eide

      Hi, nice question. to be honest I think that Rebel and Rehab is almost equally good. But if I got to pick one, it has to be Rebel. Rehab has much better production, but I really think Rebel have EVERYTHING that an album needs! Rehab has almost everything you need, and has JUST great songs too, but it could have been a little bit more variation on some of the songs like New Reality, Boasting and Divine Intervation. Wich songs did you like best on Rehab and Rebel? I think it is Killa on Rehab and Don't Waste Your Life is the best on Rebel.

      November 11, 2010 at 1:38 pm |
  16. Manny V

    Lecrae has a lot of talent that God has given him. Even more so than most of secular rappers out there. And with a better message too. 😉

    November 10, 2010 at 6:49 pm |
  17. Ellie L

    The only true freedom comes with accepting Jesus as ur Lord and savior! That is what he is saying when he talks about rehab. Freedom in Christ IS freedom from religion. I pray that american for freedom truly gives Christ a chance to change his heart so he can experience true freedom from sin! We all had to at some point.

    November 10, 2010 at 6:46 pm |
    • RUserious

      Amen Sister!

      November 10, 2010 at 8:35 pm |
    • talon10

      So....accepting a mythical Jewish zombie that died 2000 years ago as your "savior" will prevent you from being tortured forever by an invisible red guy with horns and a tail? The utter stupidity of Christians never ceases to amaze me.

      November 11, 2010 at 11:44 am |
    • Av

      He (JC) is not a zombie-he still lives...that is what my faith says...yours say otherwise. It is that simple

      November 11, 2010 at 12:22 pm |
    • eMJOY Mayowa

      @Talon 10, "For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God" -period- (1 Coritnhians 1v.18)
      JOY

      November 11, 2010 at 12:24 pm |
    • Michael

      talon10 have you ever actually examined Christianity's claims? The amount of evidence pointing to the truth of it is substantial. At the end of the day it takes faith, but then again faith is something we all have... the question is in who or what? By the way, the Bible never describes satan as an invisible red guy with horns and a tail. The Bible describes him as very beautiful and appealing even able to appear as an angel of light. The description you just gave is something he is very much happy for you to believe, as he realizes that no one takes such a description seriously. And if by torture you're implying hell, satan has no say in who is tortured there. God created it for satan not as a place to rule and torture, but as a place for him to be tortured for all of the lies, hatred, and evil he has brought into the world. Please consider what the Bible really says for your own sake.

      November 12, 2010 at 1:48 pm |
    • Marrii

      @ Talon10-
      JESUS is not a zombie who died 2000 years ago , He is MY LORD and Savior who died for ALL of our sins but came back to life at the third day !!!!!!!!!!!! Listen to yourself are you a complete idiot or what??? The reason you're still alive is because of him !! man if he had never came down to earrth and was made into a man or human like us then you wouldn't be alive !!!!!!!!!!! He gave his life for you and this is how you pay him back?!?! you should be ashamed of yourself !!!!! He loves you man he loves you so much he was willing to die for your sins! How many ppl do you knko would do tht for you?!!! Exactly thts what i thought !!! thinkk before you speak !! because what if Jesus comes back for his ppl tonight?! will you go to heaven?? He loves you so why cant you love him? GBU – God Bless You-

      November 24, 2010 at 12:14 pm |
  18. Andre M

    Thank you CNN for posting a very thoughtful and well written article. Crae is the real deal, the brother truly has a servants heart and lives out what we raps. Stay up Crae..... Memphis10

    November 10, 2010 at 6:13 pm |
  19. Nicole R.

    Thank you CNN for this forum and for posting this story. I stumbled upon it. I just might come back to you.REHAB is amazing. The lyrics and ideas are strong.

    November 10, 2010 at 5:54 pm |
  20. DJ RE-Flect

    Very balanced article CNN thanks for posting. Well written.

    November 10, 2010 at 5:29 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.