The pandemic turned in-person worship and connection upside down, but despite “no church in a while,” Lecrae is still holding onto faith. At the end of 2021, the rapper released a collaborative album with fellow Atlanta-based rapper 1K Phew. The pair hoped to inspire listeners to reconnect with God, and No Church In A While became the vessel for that message.
For Lecrae, the idea for this new album came in the midst of another project. It was last January when Lecrae gave an update for his forthcoming mixtape, Church Clothes 4. But during the recording process for that project, he told The Christian Beat how he realized that many believers haven’t been to church or even put on church clothes in 2020 and beyond. After a conversation with 1K Phew, his mentee, the work on No Church In A While began.
Similar to most of Lecrae’s artistry, tracks on the new album contain strong beats and passionate lyrics with references to faith. In “Born Sinner,” Lecrae shares a renewed desire to live righteously and not be consumed by worldly vices and past sinful behaviors. “One Call” indicates a God-given goal to serve and inspire others through his music, and in “Ready or Not,” the rapper explicitly states that his mission is to represent Jesus.
This time, though, most of the lyrics feel more pointed toward the criticism Lecrae has faced in recent years. Due to his outspokenness on race relations as well as legalism and hypocrisy among believers, some feel that Lecrae no longer fits the mold as a Christian artist—or even a Christian. He’s well aware of this. And in the titular track, Lecrae highlights the other reason why in-person worship has been avoided: church hurt. “I ain't been to church in quite a min' / Partially because I'm nervous that these folks won't let me in,” he says.
However, Lecrae’s willingness to risk his reputation while challenging injustices and church hurt takes more than courage—it takes faith. No Church In A While is tough to hear, but the bottom line is Lecrae is still holding on to hope. This album makes it evident that he’s truly walking with God and longing to reconnect with others. The question is whether or not we’re willing to do the same. (Reach Records)