Lecrae
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bad. There are symbols all throughout the video. There’s a wolf, which symbolizes the predatory nature of us (humans), we just want and want and want and hunger. There’s color schemes where one young lady is wearing green to show the pursuit of wealth and there’s a deer head in there because it’s a wealthy party because if you go to any wealthy person’s house, they’re showing off their accomplishments. So it’s really just a lot of that kind of symbolism. None of it was intended for evil.

EBONY.com: So how do you deal with that, when you’re trying to be in a positive space and you have people – even Christians—who are coming and attacking you for stuff like that or just for doing hip hop, in general, how do you stay grounded in your faith and stay above that fray?

Lecrae: I try to pay more attention more to the positive aspects of what the music is doing. There’ve been some professional athletes who have publicly spoken about how that song has inspired and challenged them and so those type of things encourage me. And then on top of that, I know that people don’t really know me so all they can do is kind of assume my motive and assume what’s happening, so I don’t take it to heart. They don’t really know me so I can’t get that flustered and hopefully if they got to sit down and have a conversation with me they’d say, “Oh, O.K. I get it.” And then we'd move on.

EBONY.com: There’s also a rumor that Jay-Z is trying to sign you. Is that true?

Lecrae: [Laughs] At this point in time, no. Essentially, he was looking for some conscious artists and my name was thrown into a pool of other artists and that’s as far as it went.

EBONY.com: Is that something that you would consider?

Lecrae: Nah. For multiple reasons, but one majorly, I’m an independent artist, I’m a label owner. I love my independence. I love being able to create the story. And I want to do in many ways what Jay-Z is doing for the mainstream. He’s inspiring a lot of people to think they can do something on their own. I want to inspire people that they can do it on their own and not compromise their faith and beliefs, as well. So, that’s what I stand for.

EBONY.com: Before joining the faith, you had a lot of hardships—a near-arrest, a terrible car accident, some near-death moments—that literally brought you to your come-to-Jesus moment. Since becoming a Christian, have you faced anything else that made you reconsider your decision to follow Christ?

Lecrae: I can’t think of one single event, but I do know that the Christian faith is one that has to be tried and tested consistently. The Bible talks about making your "calling and election sure." And so I think you just have to ask those questions: Do I really believe this? Am I really serious about this? To prod and probe to see where you really stand. Hopefully you always end up with that firm foundation. So I think that’s healthy. I’ve had some circumstances and experiences that have been tough, but those trials and those tests on the other side of them have always produced a stronger faith.

The most recent [hardship] I can think of is criticism. You influence 10 people, you’ve got one critic; you influence 100 people, you’ve got 10 critics, and so on and so forth. And so that comes with a lot of assumptions, a lot of rumors, a lot of people involved in aspects of your life and you’re just like "What? This has nothing to do with my music." And so in those circumstances you wonder, “Man, is it really worth it? What’s the point? But when you have good community like I have, close people who encourage you to keep going so that when you make it to the other side of that [hardship] and get a sober perspective, you say, “It’s worth it.” And, "God is real. He’s here for me."

Catch Lecrae on the McDonald’s Inspiration Celebration Tour in a city near you through July and look out for his mixtape, ‘Church Clothes 2,’ dropping this summer.