Reach Records' Grammy-nominated hip-hop artist Lecrae opens up about his latest song, “Church Clothes,” that was released last month as a part of his mixed tape. Hoping to inspire discussion about hypocrisy in churches, instead the track has caused quite a stir among the community.
However, Lecrae stands by his lyrics and explains this song is not meant to accuse or attack anyone or any denomination but purely to voice the perspective of an unbeliever's encounter and view of the church.
“In the song 'Church Clothes' I was actually speaking from the perspective of a person who sees all the hypocrisy in church,” says Lecrae. “Many people have seen the hypocrisy and inconsistencies that have helped push them away from the church and God altogether.”
Lecrae admits that people have been hurt by churches who have told them that if they don't dress accordingly or put on airs then they aren't welcome. Still, toward the end of the song you hear the hip-hop artist explain that if there is a real, loving and grace-based church as well as a loving God, they'd have no excuse.
“The goal wasn't to condone this behavior or view; it was just to show the real attitude that people outside the church have,” says Lecrae. “It is a personification, which is a literary and artistic tool constantly used in rap music.”
Pastors and authors from across the country are standing by Lecrae and encouraging their congregations to break down the barriers and put a stop to the deception and live by example.
“Lecrae's Scripture-infused lyrics are just what the real church needs in politically correct times like these,” says Dr. Kenneith T. Whalum Jr., author of Hip-Hop Is Not Our Enemy: From A Preacher Who Keeps It Real. “Not only are his lyrics painfully direct, the visual images are stunning, just like the homeless people we drive by on our way to our urban cathedrals.
“I can already hear the shrill outcry of the self-appointed guardians of the religious status quo against what they characterize as the 'evils of hip-hop', but 'Church Clothes' is a prime example that hip-hop is not our enemy; hypocrisy is!”
Minister Keisha Allen from Straight Gate International Church says: “'Church Clothes' is a clarion call to those of us who are true believers in the body of Christ to live a life of light so that those who live in darkness can be transformed and renewed. It is a challenge to address issues in the church that are more important than clothing of a nonbeliever, such as promiscuity, deception and the like. It's a great song!”
“Thank you Lecrae for speaking on the behalf of the young people who see this,” comments Bishop Paul S. Morton. “Young people outside the church see these issues looking from the outside in. We will cause them to change if they see us being real.”