You might say that Lecrae’s newest album is an anomaly. The 2014 release is the latest from the Christian rapper, and it debuted this week at number one. Anomaly sold 88,000 copies, landing above Jhene Aiko’s Souled Out and Ryan Adam’s self-titled album. This is the rapper’s first number one debut, his seventh album since 2005. It’s also the first time a Gospel act took the top spot on the Billboard Top 200.
On The Tonight Show September 17th, Jimmy Fallon said congrats to Lecrae for the achievement. The rapper performed with The Roots for the musical segment of the show, and also did bits of songs from Anomaly. “It’s a lot to take in,” Lecrae said on Facebook following the show. “I haven’t had time to download it all I am so grateful for the support. I know I represent something much bigger than me. Thank you! I thank God for a voice into culture. I pray I use it wisely.” Here’s a few noteworthy tracks.
“Non-fiction,” a standout single, arrived online this week as a separate release from the album (and it’s available for free here). Immediately catchy and rhythmic, it’s the strongest track I’ve heard since he’s almost too fun-loving “I’m Turnt” (which was still good – this is just better). “Party’s over” is the repeated refrain in “Outsiders,” the first track on the album. While the melody makes it rainy-mournful, it’s actually a song with an emphatic choice throughout it. “I’d rather be an outsider… There’s plenty of people like me, all outsiders like me, all unashamed and unafraid to live out what they’re supposed to be.” It’s a strong opener.
“Say I Won’t” – “I might do it just to show you.” This one deals with allegations of a few kinds. In a whirlwind of lyrics, Lecrae reaffirms that his choice of religion, and that he’s not someone who now refrains from all other choices. The only bummer here is that it’s melodically unvarying.
“Nuthin” – Lecrae described it to Fallon, saying “I made a battle cry for substance in music.” That’s what it is – he touches on the topics of much of the rap from the last 30 years (from clubs and shawty to guns and death and vengeance) and makes a plea for something to change.
“All I Need Is You” – This one comes as a surprise. It’s almost sparkly in comparison to some of the heavier tracks before it, and in it, he directly addresses God with the title message. “You’re all I ever needed… Unconditional love, I swear I’d sell it all for this. Trying to keep it together, forget my awkwardness.” It maintains an upbeat, hopeful message. Regardless of the “mood” of each track, Lecrae doesn’t sacrifice talent and art to the gospel message – but it does fall at the center, embedded in every powerfully spoken word.