Release Date: September 9, 2014
Reviewed by: Micah Garnett
- Welcome To America
- Say I Won’t (feat. Andy Mineo)
- Dirty Water
- All I Need Is You
- Give In (feat. Crystal Nicole)
- Good, Bad, Ugly
- Broken (feat. Kari Jobe)
- Messengers (feat. For King & Country)
Lecrae is a special artist. He’s not necessarily a “Christian rapper” nor is he a “mainstream rapper”. Lecrae is someone who speaks about his beliefs to anyone who will listen, Christian or non. Seven albums and two wildly successful mixtapes later, he still manages to connect with his audience in ways that are new and revealing. There’s an authenticity and authority to his craftsmanship that makes you listen every time he opens his mouth. While Gravity was essentially the story of Lecrae coming into his own in this new season of fame and success, Anomaly is a much more raw look into his heart. The album begins with “Outsiders” which is sure to be a new rallying call for the 116 Clique.
“I try my best to fit in, looking for a suit to fit in, standing outside of your prison, trying to find ways I could get in.”
It speaks of how we, as Christians, have to be different from the world. It’s encouraging to see someone as popular as Lecrae continue to stand up for what he believes in when it would be so much easier to give into the fame. “Welcome To America” is very similar thematically to “IGWT” by Derek Minor. It features an almost creepy beat by S1 and J. Rhodes, and the lyrics are extremely convicting. America is the land of the free and the home of the brave, but there is still so much corruption and poverty around the world. Lecrae takes an introspective look at the life of a soldier, third world countries, and immigration.
Andy Mineo is featured “Say I Won’t”, another 116 anthem, and he’s as flawless and as fun to listen to as ever. “Say I Won’t” builds on the theme of being different from the world, while “Nuthin’” has Lecrae confronting secular rappers and people in the music industry who talk about and promote nothing. Again, Lecrae states that he will continue to speak about his faith even if “they label me a hater.” “Fear” has Lecrae opening up his heart in a way he hasn’t since Rebel. It’s reminiscent of the vulnerability from back in the Rebel era, set to the backdrop of Gravity or Church Clothes. “
“I honestly grow insecure as I get older, ‘cuz even when you hot there comes a day when you get colder, comes a day when you slower. Time is taking its toll. 45 on the back of the jersey upon your soul. My nightmares are having nightmares. I’m quite scared of what’s right and fair. How I fear an eternity. Will I hear well done when He turns to me?”
If the main theme of the album is being different from the world, the secondary theme is what we do while we’re here on Earth. “Timepiece” speaks to our tendency to feel invulnerable as time passes us by, but Lecrae points out that time waits for no one. “Does my time spent on earth qualify me for heaven?” he ponders. I wish (no pun intended) that “Dirty Water” was after “Wish”. “Dirty Water” takes the conviction of “Made In America” and turns it up quite a few notches. Lecrae uses the analogy of dirty water to speak to the modern day church. “Wish” is a continuation of “Timepiece”, and is a song filled with Lecrae’s regrets, saying “I wish I had another chance. Maybe I’d do better”. Lust and temptation is the subject of “Runners” which is why “All I Need Is You” is such a nice contrast, speaking about what a godly relationship looks like. “Good, Bad, Ugly” brings the album to a stunning conclusion. I won’t spoil it here, because it’s something you need to hear for yourself, but my respect for Lecrae shot up after hearing that song.
Lecrae’s lyricism has increased with every album, and Anomaly is the culmination of every album so far, borrowing pieces from Rebel, Church Clothes, and Gravity. Anomaly is truly a diary of Lecrae’s life, and hopes and dreams and fears, with each song being its own entry. It’s a shame the album can get pretty boring musically at times. However, this allows Lecrae’s lyrics and stories to shine instead of having the listener being distracted by a throbbing beat, and the lack of features really makes this album stand out as Lecrae’s own. Anomaly isn’t something to be listened to lightly, so it may not be for everyone. For hardcore fans, or for someone looking to share some positive rap with someone in their life, the album is worth a listen.
3 songs to listen to: Say I Won’t, Runners, Good, Bad, Ugly
RIYL: Andy Mineo, Trip Lee, Thi’sl