“They say he forgot that truth, now all he talk is money
I say truth is that my people in the hood and hungry” —from the song “Holy Water”
On the new album Let the Trap Say Amen, Lecrae collaborates with mainstream producer Zaytoven to create a series of grounded southern hip-hop and trap tracks that hit hard both musically and lyrically. Moving the focus away from past criticism from the church regarding Lecrae’s speaking up on racial issues, he and Zaytoven turn their attention to the young people of America, promoting education and empowering them to make positive choices. Lecrae continues to be bold in explaining how his faith in Jesus impacts his life, and he invites others to receive grace and love from God. While this album is not directed toward the church, Christians can learn a lot from Lecrae’s perseverance in reaching those who are physically struggling and spiritually lost.
The album starts with Lecrae refocusing on his mission, admitting that he “lost my cool” with the challenges of the past several years. But with “Get Back Right” he clarifies in tone and lyrics that he is back on track to use music to help those who are struggling. “Preach” professes that he doesn’t need riches, he just needs Jesus, who will be with him throughout all the struggles of life.
In “2 Sides of The Game” Lecrae, alongside mainstream rapper Waka Flocka Flame, speaks to young people who are tempted to pursue the supposedly glamorous life of drug dealing. They outline both sides of that life choice, the image and the reality, encouraging young people to find other ways to earn a living.
Lecrae sees that positive change won’t happen without addressing money. “Blue Strips” (“blue strip” is slang for a $100 bill) explores the systemic issues marginalized people face when attempting to make a living, including poverty, racism, inadequate education, and incarceration. Pondering the life of an exotic dancer, he soberly points out:
Maybe she’ll let it go, she know she meant for greater
But she was broke a month ago but now she getting paper
I don't condone it but I don't condemn, I know she a gem
'Fore we hate we oughta volunteer to help her change careers.
Later on the album, the song “Yet” shows that Lecrae practices what he preaches. “Bought some houses in the hood/Put some families in 'em/Get some dealers jobs/Then they ain't gotta sell the goods.”
Throughout the album, Lecrae continues to be wary of the judgement he’s received from the church. The hurt is still evident in “Preach”: “Told me stop talking that blackness or we’ll kick you out the party, gnarly.” In the aptly-named track “Only God Can Judge Me,” he wonders: “You never hung with the tenants/lived in the hood with the killas/I go to prison to witness/This my district I witness I live this/You don't even visit, why you in my business?” Yet he is careful to avoid repaying evil with evil, remembering in “Can’t Block It” that “God told me vengeance is mine/so I don’t even try/I just wait for his reply.”
Lecrae works with some of the best trap producers and artists in the U.S. to create music to educate and be a positive influence for struggling young people. Let the Trap Say Amen is an inspiring collaboration of artists working hard to combat the injustices of this world. (Reach Records)