BLU Entertainment is currently selling tickets online and in Walker Student Center to see Lecrae, a two-time Grammyaward winning Christian hiphop artist, in concert with special guest, Swoope, on April 14 in the Bill George Arena.
Connor Gooderl, senior youth ministries major, said he is a huge fan of Lecrae and bought a VIP ticket the day they went on sale.
“I’ve been listening to Lecrae since I was in 8th grade,” Gooderl said. “He was without a doubt the most formative artist of my adolescence.”
“It’s kind of blowing my mind!” Gooderl added. “To have your favorite artist since middle school come to your home is a weird feeling.”
Lecrae’s concert is part of his Higher Learning Tour, through which he is traveling to over 35 universities and college towns across North America.
“The tour is targeted at college towns,” Gustavo Zavala, student director of BLU, said. “Lecrae wants to speak to college students and make an impact in their lives.”
Zavala said he was not previously well acquainted with Lecrae’s music, but quickly gained respect for him.
“He is really outspoken about his Christianity and about doing good in the world,” Zavala said.
“Lecrae is redefining mainstream culture,” Candace Hayes, a fellow BLU student director, said. “Having him on campus will not only get students pumped about his music, but also inspire us to witness and share the gospel in our everyday lives.”
Tara Sallee, junior elementary education major, said she has been a Lecrae fan for about five years.
“I love that JBU is having Lecrae because it means that they’re accepting of all types of music, specifically music that is glorifying Jesus, but will attract a different kind of audience,” Sallee said. “He is fun to jam out to, but I know that what I’m listening to is pleasing to the Lord and ultimately it’s great for me to listen to.”
While an outspoken evangelical Christian now, Lecrae denied Christianity as a child. In a video by I Am Second, Lecrae recalls that as a teen he became caught up in gangs, drugs and alcohol, seeking to fill the void of having never met his father. He said that at the age of 17 he was invited to a Bible study group with people that dressed and talked like him and accepted him, and he gradually came to faith.
While ministering at youth detention centers, he noticed how rap was an effective way to connect with youth and spread the gospel, according to a feature article in the Huffington Post. Lecrae co-founded Reach Records two years later, and since then has garnered five Grammy-Award nominations, two Grammy Awards and seven Dove Awards.
Lecrae told the Huffington Post that he seeks to influence culture through his music with implicit faith versus explicit faith, being a part of the secular hip-hop world without hiding his faith. He also noted that this is difficult because he started his music career by being explicitly Christian artist and has received push back from some Christians who say he has ‘sold out’ to the secular music world.
Lecrae has literally moved into the secular hip-hop world, saying he moved to Atlanta, Ga. to be around other major hip-hop artists like Ludacris and Lil Wayne.
“If I was scared that that would somehow jump on me and corrupt what I’m doing, I’m rendered ineffective,” he said at a Christian leadership conference in 2013. “They would never hear the truths that God has invested in me.”
Jed Warren, sophomore engineering major, said he has been a Lecrae fan since he was 12 or 13. Warren spoke to the range of topics Lecrae addresses in his music.
“He does have quite a few overtly Christian songs, but I would also say that he has a diverse collection of songs. His songs are all rooted in Christian beliefs, but he tackles many different issues throughout his music,” Warren said. “If you look at his body of work over the past decade, you would see songs ranging from talking about women being worth more than chasing guys who don’t care about them, to songs dissing the secular rap culture, to songs about the importance of taking responsibility.”
Gooderl said that Lecrae’s push for creative excellence is what makes him unique.
“He has this mindset that Christian artists should make great art. So he addresses issues people care about but doesn’t let that compromise the quality of music he releases,” said Gooderl. “He is also aware of his two different audiences as a Christian hip-hop artist. His work is saturated in Christian truth without pandering to the Christian bubble.”
The concert is April 14 at 7 p.m. in the Bill George Arena. Tickets are $25 in advance, $35 at the door and $18 for University students.