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Note: This article is a sidebar to this month's cover story, "W.W. Jay-Z."
Lecrae Moore is the Grammy Award–winning rapper who represents the face of the gospel hip-hop movement. In songs like "Jesus Muzik," "Don't Waste Your Life" (based on the sermon by John Piper), and "Black Rose," Lecrae has developed a hard-hitting, straight-talking style that speaks to the everyday realities of fallen sinners and unfolds the cosmic solution to the problem of evil: Jesus Christ.
Lecrae, who was raised in Houston, created a rap imprint, the 116 Clique, with fellow Texan Tedashii (a chart-storming member of the Village Church, led by Matt Chandler). And he's president and cofounder of Reach Records, which produces many of the movement's top artists.
Lecrae's versatility is reminiscent of Jay-Z's, though like much of the contemporary gospel rap movement, Lecrae's primary sound is Southern, not East Coast. Throughout his career, he has favored big bass and big hooks (choruses), though his recent album, Gravity, uses numerous sonic templates.
The past few years were remarkable for Lecrae. With about 600,000 followers, his Twitter account shows him popping up all over the place, from numerous nba locker rooms to Michael Jordan's 50th birthday party. But despite his accomplishments he locates his satisfaction in Christ alone. Outside of Jesus, he tweeted, "nothing and no one . . . will ever satisfy a heart designed for God."
The gospel rap movement has close ties to the NBA, and it's fitting to call Trip Lee the Russell Westbrook to Lecrae's Kevin Durant. The two are a dynamic duo. Trip, born William Lee Barefield III in Dallas, was discipled by Lecrae in high school. A decade later, he won a Stellar Award, sold tens of thousands of copies of his albums, and wrote The Good Life (Moody Publishers).
Lee is known for his distinct Southern drawl and lyrics that ...