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. Meagan

    I used to love Lecrae's music when I was a Christian, I am now an agnostic but I still listen to it from time to time.
    One thing is certain: this man is talented!

    November 12, 2010 at 3:06 pm |
    • hey gul

      Hey Megan
      I just wanted to encourage you not to give up on Jesus. I don't know your story but God does. He loves you no matter what you said or did – or what you think He did. Yes its true He still wants you, He calls you friend, He calls you daughter and princess! Give Him a try! He hasn't given up on you.<3

      November 13, 2010 at 8:33 am |
    • peye

      I percieve that some church folks discouraged you and you witnessd some Hippocrates but Jesus is still true. I witnessed those too and I got almost discouraged until I found for myself what true relationship with God is and I know that not everyone in church understands the ways of God and everyone is in different levels of spiritual development. God still loves you plenty but he would not want you to walk on a path that will ruin you. your choosing Jesus will not add to God but will bring Him joy that another human being found the light and is rescued from destruction. much love

      November 14, 2010 at 8:50 pm |
    • Abejita

      Meagan –
      Ditto to what these two said. God is absolutely real and loves you so much! I pray that you would open up your heart and let Jesus in...there is so much peace in knowing Him and He alone is our only hope in life. 🙂

      James 4:8 ~ Draw near to God and He will draw near to you

      Jeremiah 33:3 ~ Call to Me and I will answer you, and I will tell you great and mighty things, which you do not know.'

      November 18, 2010 at 1:13 pm |
  2. Tre'mar little

    The message they spoke was BLESSED.trip lee sho baraka, tedashii,dj official pro, the drummer and everyone else it was GOOD.Lacrae seems nice i seen him at the concert last night they did a GOOD job and the LORD used them thank you everyone be BLESSED

    November 12, 2010 at 12:28 pm |
  3. Albert Lopez

    God is good!!! Tell me face to face that I am wrong and show me your facts!!!

    November 12, 2010 at 11:07 am |
  4. Los

    Lecrae is AWESOME!! Similar to Lecrae is an artist name: Applejaxx. He is a Christian rapper, youth pastor and love Christ. Check out: Jesus High http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KtsHMORspwQ

    November 12, 2010 at 10:10 am |
  5. P.R.

    Thank U CNN for good news. GOD IS GOOD ALL THE TIME. Can't wait to check it out. LOVE RULES

    November 12, 2010 at 9:53 am |
  6. Winnner2da

    I Was at the "Unashamed" concert last night in Sterling Heights, MI.

    It was Awesome!

    I'm thanking God for Lecrae and the whole 116 Clique.

    November 12, 2010 at 9:52 am |
  7. djporshay

    Wow... I'm really surprised that a mainstream news medium such as CNN would cover a story like this, but I'm extremely grateful! It's about time the masses (and especially our children) see & hear something other than the foolishness we see & hear from so many other countless "rappers" in the industry. I applaud LaCrae for what he's doing & to all the haters- don't knock it until you digest it. You can only hate on something that you don't fully understand. After all, why hate on something that's not negative? Selah.

    November 12, 2010 at 2:59 am |
  8. Christi

    Just what we need....more religion. Ugh.

    November 11, 2010 at 10:59 pm |
    • megaman

      Religion made a change in this man's life for the better! stop hating and just shut up already. this is an uplifting story, don't ruin it with your ceaseless negativity. good for you Lecrae, God bless you.

      November 11, 2010 at 11:16 pm |
    • steve

      this country was founded on religion. The reason people talk negative about Jesus is because they are scared to trust him. So that means that you have issues with trust not with Jesus. Christi I pray that you open your heart and ears to listen to what Jesus has to say and I am sorry if you wronged in the past by someone that said they were a Christian. Jesus loves you and so do i

      November 12, 2010 at 1:01 am |
  9. steve

    I know lecrae and the whole reach record group on a personal level. I have worked along side of these cats while living in Memphis. Lecrae, BJ, Ben Washer, BenJah and the rest of the guys are amazing. They live out their beliefs and not just say them like secular artist do. I am not taking anything away from the talent of secular artist but they are a dying breed of artist and Lecrae, Trip, T-Dot, Sho, Flame,BenJah, and the rest of the guys that are spitting the truth are the future. The reason that people are talking trash is because they are lost and don't know Jesus and I pray that your hearts be prepared to hear the message of Christ. These guys are amazingly talented and are doing their jobs as members of the body of Christ. They are real Men of God.


    November 11, 2010 at 9:39 pm |
  10. William Abbott

    Crayola Rox!!!

    i listen to his albums and he brings it! After the music stops, rebel, and rehab and he's got the Holy Ghost writer down! Believe that! Try it! Jesus music!!! Can't wait for rehab/overdose to release. A lyric "forget the skin color, your Christian first" from rehab.His jams make me smile when I'm down!

    November 11, 2010 at 8:37 pm |
  11. Real Hip Hop Fan

    I love how the mainstream culture COMPLETELY ignores lyrics when a new joint comes out from Gucci Mane, Lil Wayne, etc....but as soon as the term "Christian" gets tossed up in the air, the lyrics are so important! Just because you don't share the same beliefs as the dude doesn't mean it's bad music. I don't believe in raping or killing or setting houses on fire, but I still enjoy some of Eminem's music. Without a doubt Lecrae get's respect with the real hip-hop fans. All the contentious kids on this board are whats wrong with mainstream rap music. Go listen to some Common, Mos Def, Theory Hazit, Othello, Braille, and Lecrae – all "real" hip-hop. Now i know why the hip-hop fans stick to the "underground"....the fools on the surface make me want to strangle someone!

    November 11, 2010 at 8:36 pm |
    • Kwhite

      Now that's a real hip hop fan. I agree. Most of the top 40 since the late 90's has been hot sweaty garbage! It amazes me how people can blindly criticize the talent in Christian Hip Hop.

      December 29, 2010 at 11:20 pm |
  12. Ryan

    I'd never even heard of Lecrae before I stumbled upon this article. I was expecting it to be about some mainstream rapper. I was wrong and I sure am glad about that. I listened to the entire album today and plan on buying it as well as his other albums. Amazing message and great beats. I've found a new favorite artist to listen to I think. All glory and honor to God. Thank you for the article CNN.

    November 11, 2010 at 7:46 pm |
    • LaDiva

      @ Jason

      I'm glad u Lecrae's music has drawn u.
      The whole 116 clique is awesome. Check them out when u can.
      God bless.

      November 12, 2010 at 7:57 am |
  13. Bobby Newports

    Good rap, is art. Bad rap, is crap. It's a shame people can't see the difference.

    http://www.sportsbodega.com new humor-based sports blog

    November 11, 2010 at 7:43 pm |
  14. Rim

    First auto-tune, then Lil Wayne and now Lecrae.....Maybe revelations is right about the end of the world if people consider this good hip hop....Dear Nas and Jay-Z, please save us from this garbage.

    November 11, 2010 at 6:57 pm |
    • 2 Peace

      You mean, "Lil Wayne: save with your uplifting lyrics of drugs, womanizing and out-and-out foolishness??"
      Yeah....that's the ticket. Save us with his foolishness.

      November 11, 2010 at 7:06 pm |
  15. cody O

    I have heard the album. Personally I didn't care for it to much. But I have heard alot worse. It might just be my paticular taste but I still wish the guy luck.

    November 11, 2010 at 6:50 pm |
  16. Check Him Out

    "Suffer/ Yeah do it for Christ if you trying to figure what to do with your life/ if you making a lot money hope you doing it right because the money is Gods you better steward it right/ stay focused if you ain’t got no ride/ your life ain’t wrapped up in what you drive/ the clothes you wear the job you work/ the color your skin naw you Christian first/ people living life for a job/ make a lil money start living for a car/ get em a house a wife kids and a dog/ when they retire they living high on the hog/ but guess what they didn’t ever really live at all/ to live is Christ yeah that’s Paul I recall/ to die is gain so for Christ we give it all/ he’s the treasure you’ll never find in the mall/ Your money your singleness marriage talent and time/ they were loaned to you to show the world that Christ is Divine/ that’s why it’s Christ in my rhymes/ That’s why it’s Christ all the time/see my whole world is built around him He’s the life in my lines/ I refused to waste my life/ he’s too true ta chase that ice/ here’s my gifts and time cause I’m constantly trying to be used to praise the Christ/ If he’s truly raised to life/ then this news should change your life/ and by his grace you can put your faith in place that rules your days and nights."


    November 11, 2010 at 5:34 pm |
  17. capn slapaho

    a hip, a hop, a hipit, ahipit to the praise jesus hoppity dont stop

    November 11, 2010 at 4:24 pm |
  18. brookln231

    just listened to this guy for the first time, definitely has great talent, to bad he's wasting it by rapping about religion.

    November 11, 2010 at 4:12 pm |
  19. Jenny Davis

    So greatful for LeCrae and others like Sho Baraka who are out there sharing how God has given them new life and the opportunity to influence so many people for His Glory! I spoke with a talented young man this past weekend who grew up in north Dallas projects and is now giving back to his community in service and ministry. He cited LeCrae's ministry as the thing that keeps him encouraged and on the right path. God bless you and your family!

    November 11, 2010 at 3:35 pm |
  20. edwin

    All I know is Lecrae's Rehab (newest album) went to # 1 on 3 different charts one of which includes secular rappers . So Lecrae beat out Drake, T.I. , Gucci Mane and a few others to be # 1. All this w/o any strong radio or video play. Nothing but God. Taking over for the Kingdom. All are welcome.

    November 11, 2010 at 3:08 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.