Lecrae, Anomaly (Reach Records, 2014)
I suspect that Lecrae is the only person who has been a guest on the Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon and also at Bethlehem Baptist Church, where John Piper preached for many years. Earlier this year Desiring God released a video of a conversation between John Piper, John Ensor and Lecrae (“Passion Life Interview with Lecrae”). Surprisingly, the answer to the question “What hath Jerusalem to do with Athens?” seems to be "hip hop." Lecrae’s rapid-fire rap reflects his Christian worldview, and the debut of Anomaly in the number one spot on the Billboard 200 attests to his impact on popular culture.
Reflecting on Anomaly and its connection with his previous work, Lecrae commented, "I am gonna take you somewhere emotionally. Always. I always want to create music that will emotionally jar you, whether it turns you up or pierces your heart or whatever. There is always going to be that element." (@lecrae@rapzilla). And on Anomaly the emotional element is there in spades. Lecrae allows neither himself nor his listener to avoid the dark emotional depths of alienation, regret, fear and betrayal: “my nightmares are having nightmares” (“Fear”). Like a skilled boxer, his delivery is quick, well aimed, and seems to come from all sides at once. By the time one expression of encouragement or conviction begins to register, three more have already arrived. The experience is jarring; in a jaded culture where shock and significance are in short supply, Anomaly stands out. For all us misfits and anomalies, Lecrae offers words of truth and grace, words that seldom reach number one on the Billboard 200.