"I have to remember, I'm never really alone.
I'm just an anomaly."
Coming off the heels of his 2013 Grammy Award for Best Gospel Album, you might expect the success of Gravity to have gone to Lecrae Moore's head.
Instead, Lecrae's 7th studio album, Anomaly, finds the Grammy Award winning artist wrestling with the recognition and expectations that follow such an accomplishment. Expected to debut on the Billboard 200's Top 10 this Thursday, Anomaly finds Lecrae at the top of the hip hop game, a rapper who has managed to master his craft and capture the attention of industry elite while at the same time staying true to his biblical roots.
In short, Lecrae makes the Good News sound good. And the world is noticing.
However, as is often the case, with recognition and accolade comes the harsh reality that it's lonely at the top of the mountain. Instead of taking pride in his success, Lecrae refers to himself as an anomaly, a word that often comes with largely negative connotations, usually describing someone or something that is abnormal or isolated from the mainstream, "a deviation from the common rule".
This feeling of isolation has been keenly felt by Lecrae as he has risen to prominence over the last few years. In the trailer for the album, Lecrae laments, "Once you become a public figure, somehow, in the eyes of the world, you cease to be human. You become more like a character, and there are certain demands that are put on you that are not put on other people, real people… A lot of relationships become life-taking, and not life-giving. It makes you feel alone, like you're on an island."
In the world of hip hop, such a lament is itself an anomaly; an honest, vulnerable sentiment in a bravado-filled genre where weaknesses are hidden behind tough words and pumping one's own tires is the norm. He calls this false front of hip hop into question on the title track, asking,
money, money, sex, drugs, and the coroners…
All this killing but where are the bodies at?
All this money but where the Bugattis at?
But dig a little deeper and you'll find another insecure man sitting in a two-seater,
The same little boy that got beat up
With plenty pains in his past you can bring up.
Nobody ever told him he could be more than he is, but inside he's a leader.
I didn't know who was inside me either,
Striving to be a captain, hoping I could date a cheerleader…
Trying to get me a throne of my own so I can put my feet up.
Thank God my kingdom was overthrown by The Soul Redeemer."
Refusing to indulge in egocentric, self-inflating lyrics, Lecrae instead recognizes the source of his talent, finding his reputation in Christ's accomplishments rather than his own. When asked about the source of his success, Lecrae doesn't talk about how hard he worked or how he clawed his way from the bottom to the top, but rather argues that success came in spite of his efforts. He simply shrugs and says, "It's mind-blowing… You just pray, and hang on."
And, while Lecrae continues to struggle with the isolating realities of fame and his feelings of "outsiderness", he takes comfort in the fact that he is currently in the right place, continuing to sing the Lord's songs in a foreign land (Ps. 137:4). By accepting his own calling, Lecrae in turn encourages his listeners to embrace their unique identity and reminds us that, "only God can give you a sense of real identity, and real purpose".