As a professing Christian, constantly in the midst of others around me who think differently, it’s not hard for me to say that standing firm in my faith can get difficult and lonely. Not to mention trying to find where I fit in the middle of those I have so much love for, but just live differently. In the words of Lecrae, from his recent interview with Billboard, “There’s some stuff I may not condone, but I don’t condemn and I just try to see the beauty in it and what God intended in things.”
His album All Things Work Together has found me at a time in my life, where I’ve been exploring new genres of music I generally stayed away from previously. I had always thought hip-hop was all about drugs and demeaning women, with having no other sides to it. Funny how the very thing I pride myself on not doing, was the exactly what I did to an entire genre of music. Upon further recent exploration of hip-hop, I found out just how wrong I have been, and I’ve never felt more blessed to be wrong in my music-loving life.
Lecrae has been at the forefront of Christian hip-hop for years, with classics like Anomaly and Church Clothes 1, 2, and 3. Admittedly, I just recently discovered his sound with Church Clothes 3, and immediately was attracted to his effortless flow and the vibe of his beats. But what threw me and drew me in all at the same time, the most, was how saturated in musicality and truth his songs were. All Things Work Together is no exception to this.
His latest release All Things Work Together, which dropped Friday, can almost be broken up into fourths, though each song flows effortlessly into the next, with an intentional order unrivaled by most albums preceding it. His ability to reach a multitude of cultures and backgrounds are extremely evident with his range of style and approach taken to each individual song. Lecrae speaks on his battle on revealing his true self in the midst of hatred and scrutiny, and how his background made him who he is today with “Always Knew”, “Facts”, and “Broke.” Being a Christian in the rap sphere can sometimes typecast an artist into one specific category, but Lecrae remains true to his hip-hop roots, and fights for his truth to be heard regardless.
“Blessings”, “Whatchu Mean”, “Hammer Time”, and “Come and Get Me”, expand more on his trap-style beats and Atlanta influence, and are definite hype songs speaking to his boldness and unashamed passion for his faith. In “Whatchu Mean,” he shouts out 116, a group of faith-based rappers collectively building on the principle found in the scripture Romans 1:16, “For I am unashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes,” further empowering those who look up to him as a role model and source of strength in fighting for your faith.
All Things Work Together starts to slow down with “Lucked Up” and “Wish You the Best,” two romantic ballads dedicated to being with the one he loves for life, as well as wishing he could have righted some wrongs in a past relationship, two ideals we can all relate to. As mentioned in an MTV article in 2014 regarding “All I Need Is You,” Lecrae has been striving to “promote healthier relationships in hip-hop,” also stating, “What if we’re consistent in our relationships? What if we tell the truth? What if we don’t lie? What if we don’t cheat? What if we love somebody and we’re not afraid to say it in a hip-hop song?” This theme still rings true today for the artist, as he continues to make it a point in his music to cherish and honor his wife with “Forever” on his last release, and with “Lucked Up” on All Things Work Together.
The album closes with deep and dark cries not only to God but also to the public with “Can’t Stop Me Now (Destination),” “I’ll Find You,” “8:28,” and “Cry For You,” and “Worth It.” Lecrae moves smoothly throughout the pain of his recent past and the redemption and solace he finds in the hope of Jesus Christ. “Can’t Stop Me Now” is both a heartbreaking and uplifting account of fighting depression and doubts with a powerful pre-chorus, “So tell depression it can fly away, tell my doubts they can die today, Imma catch me a wave, sail away, can’t stop me now.” “I’ll Find You,” featuring Tori Kelly, speaks to the importance of real, down in the dirt with you, type friendships, and how “…it’s all worth it in the end, and when you got nobody to turn to, just hold on and I’ll find you.” You don’t find many artists making a big deal about simply being there for someone, which is just one more thing making All Things Work Together a step above. “8:28” though not technically the title track pulls in the album name with the scripture it represents, Romans 8:28, “And we know that for those who love Gog all things work together for good.” In an interview with Billboard, Lecrae notes, “It was intentional…but everybody ma not know the scripture or understand the deeper meaning. I think everyone can relate to all things working together,” showing his heart to stay true to himself, but remain relatable and available to those who may not be in the same place he is at yet. “Cry For You” may be the most powerful and heart wrenching track on the album, as he pours out all of the broken pieces of his soul in one take, and how God is the thing that holds him together. All Things Work Together is brought to a beautiful close with “Worth It,” an anthem for anyone who’s ever been beat down or felt like they weren’t enough.
Lecrae continues to be a huge influence in not just the Christian spheres, but the hip-hop circles as well, providing inspiration and motivation through every rhyme and rhythm. This is an album for people of all cultures, all backgrounds, and all beliefs, and could serve as the uniting factor this world desperately needs. Lecrae will bring the public together with his honesty and openness, and is a testament to how far hard work and trust will take you.