Lecrae, "Gravity" (Reach Records)
Christian rapper Lecrae doesn't fit the typical mold of a gospel artist. His arms are covered with tattoos, he normally sports his hats tilted to the side and he often wears slightly sagging pants.
Don't let that be a distraction. The Houston native is a true talent with a unique ability to deliver thought-provoking messages on life without sounding like a Bible-thumping preacher. His rap approach has earned him praise by many in hip-hop, from veteran rapper Bun B to Lupe Fiasco.
On his sixth album, "Gravity," Lecrae delivers a strong piece of work. He's not afraid to rap about his past mistakes, supplying inspirational rhymes filled with Christian values backed by well-produced secular hip-hop beats.
One of the best songs on the 15-track album is the DJ Khalil-produced "Mayday," featuring rapper Big K.R.I.T. and 2011 American Idol contestant Ashthon Jones. Big K.R.I.T. is impressive on the soulful song, and Lecrae insightfully raps with substance: "Now I found true religion and it's not inside no denim/and the overpriced shades will never give you vision."
Lecrae attempts to educate about the pitfalls of street life on the high-energy "Violence." On "Confe$$ions," he raps that having an abundant amount of money doesn't always equal happiness.
Other standout tracks are "Free From It All," featuring Mathai, "Walk With Me," with Novel, and "Tell the World," including Mali Music.
Check this out: "Lucky Ones," featuring Rudy Currence, is a piano-driven song where Lecrae raps about being fortunate to receive a second chance in life through faith.