Hey, you want unity? Then read a eulogy
Kill the power that exists up under you and over me —“Facts”
All Things Work Together, Lecrae’s eighth studio album, presents the hip-hop artist’s reflective side as he wrestles with the heavy criticism he has received from the church and others for highlighting racial injustice. Yet as he responds to the betrayal he feels from the evangelical church who until this point had supported and championed him for so many years, his resilience and conviction is evident.
Lecrae continues to boldly identify as a Christian while at the same time collaborating with several mainstream producers (Metro Boomin) and artists (Ty Dolla $ign, Tori Kelly) and establishing his place within the wider music community. So much can be unpacked from his lyrics that the layered and nuanced production is overshadowed. The team of producers masterfully reference popular culture, allowing the listener to keep discovering deeper meanings embedded in each track.
The album begins by focusing outwardly as he answers critics from the church with songs like “Always Knew” and “Facts,” which includes the following lyrics:
People wonder, "Is he woke or just a new slave?"
Old religion, he just covered it with new chains
Choppin' out the church, he ain't real, he fake
He divisive, he don't rep the King, he just want the fame
Aw man, now they actin' like I'm suddenly political
Told me shut my mouth and get my checks from Evangelicals
In “Come and Get Me,” Lecrae reveals the intensity of his experience—“people out here wishin' they could pop me.” Despite the knowledge that some would harm him, he stands strong, declaring to the church, “If you want a religious puppet you gon' have to hang this guy.” The reference to lynching is clear, along with the warning later in the song that death wouldn’t silence his message: “I'm prolly more of a threat to y'all while I'm dead.” The seriousness of the conflict is apparent in the choice and strength of language used. While “Come and Get Me” oozes courage, Lecrae also expresses his vulnerabilities. In “Can’t Stop Me Now” he sings about how this criticism has taken a personal toll on him, leading to anxiety and depression as well as doubts about his faith.
Several tracks explore themes other than racial injustice. “I’ll Find You,” featuring Tori Kelly on vocals, is an emotional anthem encouraging perseverance in the midst of extreme adversity. It has been used in a fundraising campaign to battle children’s cancer, and many listeners find in it encouragement for those battling physical disease. “Wish You the Best” is a song written to a former girlfriend expressing regret and hoping that she has found joy as they continue their lives apart. And “8:28” explores the challenges of being a father without a good role model.
Despite the heavy topics, each of these songs present hope, whether it’s just a glimpse in a chorus, or Lecrae pointing directly to promises from the Bible. One of the last songs on the album is “Cry for You,” a courageous, heartfelt prayer to God. We are blessed to be able to listen in.
Lecrae demonstrates courage and vulnerability in the midst of adversity. The album critiques the church, calls out oppressors, provides hope for the oppressed, and invites listeners to listen first when facing complex issues. (Columbia)