Being counter-cultural these days is extremely hard. Everything around you says “do things this way” or “if you have this item you need nothing else”. The Bible calls all christians to something different, to be counter-cultural. What if we lived a lifestyle unashamed of Jesus Christ and no longer conformed to the patterns of the world. Or in this case, the culture. We would then line up with the teachings of the Bible and be better equipped to live a life that is set apart, unique. We will also find our music taste may change and we will find ourselves listening to more hip-hop.
A music review for Rebel by Lecrae; written by a white kid from Saskatoon, SK, Canada, nothing is more counter-cultural. For some reason there seems to be a theme running through these words, but bear with me. When I listen to hip-hop I usually lean towards East-Coast stylings, so it’s really interesting that I find myself being “all about” a West-Coast album. There is something really satisfying when “truth” and “honesty” are woven into lyrics, no matter what style of music it is. Rebel starts, like most hip-hop albums, with an intro track. But this intro track is arguably the best lyrical track on the CD, and introduces themes of transformation, rebellion, servanthood, and anticonformation. The effective use of sampling a sermon containing these themes makes this one of the best intros I’ve ever heard in hip-hop. Track 2 is highlighted by Lecrae’s honest lyric “…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”. God has blessed Lecrae with an amazing talent to make these lines flow smoothly, suited perfectly to the genre. Track 5 is even more honest when we hear an argument between Lecrae and sin in the lyric, “Lets go smoke a Kool or sumthin/Talk and sip a brew or sumthin/Naw man I aint trusting you/Aint nothing but lust in you/Thanks be to God I obeyed the teaching I was entrusted to”. The use of biblical language abounds on the CD. Track 14, titled “The Bride”, portrays the roal or goal of the church in modern hip-hop language that communicates the Bible to the culture, “Yeah she may look gritty/When her man come back she gone look so pretty - She the Church/You might see her acting crazy, be patient with her tho cause she still God’s baby - She the Church”. Challenging.
Musically, Rebel is distinctly West-Coast. You hear it in the pounding bass, catchy R & B choruses, and smooth raps. Even through the cover, you can tell that Rebel will sound very “thug”. As you listen more to the CD you can immediately compare Lecrae to 50 Cent, Cam’ron, or even Tupac. Christian comparisons may include any of the Cross Movement dudes or any of Lecrae’s label mates; Trip Lee, Tedashii, and Sho Baraka. Production and listenability are very strong on Rebel, you can listen to the CD repetitively and never get sick of it or be dissapointed with the quality. Isn’t that what good music is, freshness and uniqueness?
The summation of this review is served up good through the last line of the album, “Go, go, go (run with those beautiful feet)/Go, go, go
You hold the truth that saves so run and shout it to the world/They can’t believe in something they ain’t never heard/Go, go, go and run with those beautiful feet”. Is that counter-cultural? Let this serve as a challenge to all of us, let’s go, let’s be a Rebel.