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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. Cody P.

    Thanks CNN for posting this story. I never would have thought that you guys would be the one to post something like this. Lecrae is a great rapping group, and they deserve more credit than they get. Keep up the good work!

    November 11, 2010 at 3:06 pm |
  2. D Mills

    It is so crazy that people want to bash Lecrae for what he is doing and run christian into the ground. One day we will all see. I liked to listen to all the gangsta rap back in the day but when I found something that I could relate to I grabbed it and held on tightly. Much props to Lecrae. Trip-lee is great too.

    November 11, 2010 at 3:03 pm |
    • Cody P.

      I agree 100%. When I first listened t lecrae, i didnt think much about it, but now that i've began to really listen, they have changed my life.

      November 11, 2010 at 3:07 pm |
  3. sarcasticone

    when i read hte header i thoght the new mesg was gonna be: "not all biatches are hoes".

    November 11, 2010 at 2:43 pm |
  4. WillfromMontana

    I understand that CNN is based in Atlanta, but it is really getting ridiculous how much of a bias this supposedly objective news organization has toward his city, I am done with CNN until they realize there are other parts of the country. How about some random stories from the north, or heck even the west. Im sick of coming to the CNN website and seeing stories about this place, done done done. – Thank You

    November 11, 2010 at 2:21 pm |
  5. Jeff

    Have you ever wondered how the world began or how it will end? Or, why is our world full of pain, disease, poverty? It wasn't always this way. http://viewthestory.com/2050

    November 11, 2010 at 2:09 pm |
  6. matt

    Pure Talent, and humble!! I'm glad he's not ashamed of why he does what he does.

    November 11, 2010 at 2:05 pm |
  7. MrManny

    have no idea who this guy is, and don't care

    November 11, 2010 at 2:00 pm |
    • joestar

      as a hip hop fan since 87 I can say this is a dope emcee like many others who won't be listened to because people don't care! and love dumbed down lyrics!

      November 11, 2010 at 2:39 pm |
    • 2 Peace

      If you don't care, why are you here????????

      November 11, 2010 at 7:01 pm |
  8. Izehi

    Great article CNN, thank you for posting!

    November 11, 2010 at 1:59 pm |
  9. ReformedRapper

    Love the lyrical theology Lecrae brings to the table. Thanks for sharing this awesome story of grace in his life CNN

    November 11, 2010 at 1:47 pm |
  10. PCP

    Sick rapper. Great article. Can't wait to catch the whole ReachRecords crew Friday night in Pittsburgh.

    November 11, 2010 at 1:25 pm |
  11. ryan

    his IS a mainstream message. It may be a more positive one, but organized religion being preached is a 2000 yr old antiquated message that may or may not apply, depending. There are many talented hop hop artists that are secular and have evolved form a very basic "street life" tales of which hip hop was started on for movement purposes. What is impressive is that he seems to be a part of a more grassroots label and. all in all mainstream doesnt equate to gangster rap. it equates to a watered down message. having not listened to his music, id be willing to give it a try but im speculative.

    November 11, 2010 at 1:00 pm |
    • Mark

      I think you mean "skeptical."

      November 11, 2010 at 2:29 pm |
  12. ThatGuy

    I appreciate this CNN. Just when I think you guys can't get anymore liberal and anti-Christian you go and post this article. Credit where credit is due.

    November 11, 2010 at 12:42 pm |
  13. sleepytime

    Most mainstream rappers are religious as far as I can tell. I'm unclear on why anyone would think this guy is particularly noteworthy.

    November 11, 2010 at 12:41 pm |
    • Beloved1

      Have you heard any of his music?

      November 11, 2010 at 1:06 pm |
  14. Bblove

    reading lines over a european dance beat is not talent

    November 11, 2010 at 12:36 pm |
  15. Clarence

    I'm 50 years old and lilsten to any form of music that has a positive message. I like rap. Some of my older friends don't understand. An artist is developed over time. Just because an artist sees Jesus finaly doesnt mean they all start singing church music. Go man, you will touch many more lives that an average preacher.

    November 11, 2010 at 12:33 pm |
  16. The Irony

    LOL @ a bunch of non-believers making comments on the BELIEF blog??

    November 11, 2010 at 12:25 pm |
    • Bob

      Hahahaha, that is pretty funny. I was just curious in the article because it said "rapper" i usually read anything about music. I was curious on who the rapper was. I thought what you were thinking myself, and I almost didn't comment, because I am not anti Christian. I just don't like Christian music at all.

      November 11, 2010 at 12:28 pm |
    • The Irony

      Ok "Bob"

      Right, cause who would want rappers speaking truth to the lost youth? That would be a terrible idea.

      Hey kids- What he's talking about in his rhymes is called a Bible -aka- God's word....You remember Him right?

      November 11, 2010 at 12:36 pm |
    • Clarence

      The Irony are you a Christian? If so you are not offering love in the face of hate. I know it is hard to not go negative, but you are not going to change anyones mind...not your job. That 's for Jesus. YOu need to be the face of Christ no matter what is said. And He will work in his time.

      November 11, 2010 at 12:46 pm |
  17. JC

    Congrats to CNN for covering this dude. I'm still listening to 'Rebel'. Can't wait to hear 'Rehab'. I hope the new found fame doesn't get the best of him. "Lies in the songs, lies on the television(lies)"

    November 11, 2010 at 12:23 pm |
    • RB

      I can assure you he won't let it go to his head. I've hosted shows with him for the last 2 years and did the unashamed tour just last night with him and I can assure you they (trip lee, lecrae, sho baraka, tedashii and pro) are as serious about directing all glory to God as much as they were two years ago when I first met them. God is truly using them to reach a broken generation and usher in a movement not and event. Keep on slinging Christ!

      November 11, 2010 at 10:10 pm |
  18. religion ickky

    i don't believen in religion but some christion ROCK has good tunes. hate rap and i always will.

    November 11, 2010 at 12:15 pm |
    • religion ickky

      oops. christian

      November 11, 2010 at 12:16 pm |
  19. Bob

    Christian music sucks in general. I don't want to hear lyrics about praising the lord. Christian rap is even worse. I don't care if he can spit or not. Its obnoxious to be preached at when listening to music. no thanks. Consider this, Lecrae is the Creed of Christian rap. ohhhh, that sucks.

    November 11, 2010 at 12:13 pm |
    • Bob

      Also, RAPPERS NEED TO QUIT NAMING THEIR ALBUMS REHAB!!!! Get over it. I love rap music so much by the way, I just can't stand Christian music. it's like throw up in my mouth

      November 11, 2010 at 12:20 pm |
    • Disco

      Guess you never heard of RelientK, Switchfoot, Anberlin, Underoath, P.O.D., Paramore, Lifehouse, Maylene and the Sons of Disaster, Devil Wears Prada, As I Lay Dying

      November 11, 2010 at 3:18 pm |
    • Sean

      Bob, what you probably mean to say is not that you hate preaching in your music, but you hate people preaching things you don't want to hear. All music seeks to present a certain world view and ideology, which is preaching.

      November 11, 2010 at 4:01 pm |
    • YouthPastorJAC

      Bob, can I suggest that the reason you don't like "lyrics about praising the Lord" and being "preached at" is because you don't like God's Word and you don't like God. In fact, you hate him. In fact, you hate him enough that you would rather suppress his message than hear it (even if it's in a medium you can enjoy and relate to). If that be the case, here is a scary piece of scripture to consider. Read it and think on it.
      "For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth." – Romans 1:18

      November 11, 2010 at 5:58 pm |
  20. GABRIEL

    LOOK AT WHAT THE police officer accomplished that night.

    🙂

    November 11, 2010 at 12:13 pm |
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About this blog

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.