Release Date: November 13th 2020
Reviewed by: Jonathan Andre
Lecrae – Restoration: The Deluxe Album (Amazon mp3/iTunes)
- Restore Me
- Set Me Free (feat. YK Osiris)
- Wheels Up (feat. Marc E. Bassy)
- Over the Top
- Self Discovery
- Deep End
- Drown (feat. John Legend)
- Saturday Night (feat. Jozzy)
- Sunday Morning (feat. Kirk Franklin)
- Keep Going
- Still (feat. DaniLeigh)
- Only Human (feat. BJ the Chicago Kid)
- Nothing Left to Hide (feat. Gwen Bunn)
- 10 Toes
- Rich and Famous (feat. WHATUPRG & Ty Brasel)
- Come Thru Jesus
- Deep End (feat. Rapsody) [REMIX]
- Restored (feat. 1K Phew, Wande & Hulvey)
- Celebrate More (feat. Andy Mineo & Hulvey)
Lecrae’s music has been transformational in the lives of many, has shaped people’s ideas of what a nation in this world can be if given the proper tools to wake up from the division that is hurting people, and has given us all a way to understand what it’s like to make real authentic music in a world where judgement, condemnation and hate is flying, from all sides of the religious and political spectrum. Nevertheless, what Lecrae has achieved throughout his career is nothing short of a miracle, as we see a man clearly knowing his identity in Christ, going to the places that I’m sure a lot of Christian people would never go, and sharing his faith in a world where faith of any kind, can be seen as a weakness or a crutch.
Still, Lecrae continues to travel into that place and space, to start a conversation that needs to be started. Lecrae’s music is healing, challenging, confronting, equipping, edifying and spirit-filled, all at once. Being the co-founder of CHH label Reach Records (of which is he a signee himself), Lecrae has fostered a culture of rap that is about speaking truth, but in a way where people outside of the church can relate and understand. Sure, as of right now, his music may be ‘seeker-sensitive’, but let us be reminded of his boldness for Christ in the songs like ‘I’ll Find You’, ‘8:28’, ‘Messengers’, ‘Just Like You’ and ‘Don’t Waste Your Life’, to name a few. I myself have had the privilege of listening to Lecrae’s music for a while now, and have even written a blog about him, which you can all view, here. And so here I am in 2021, reflecting on the year which was 2020. Lecrae unveiled to us a new album in August, titled Restoration, feeling like a more complete followup to his 2017 album All Things Work Together. While Lecrae’s music has always been very polarising as of late, this album is by no means an exception. Standing at a formidable track-listing of 14 tracks, this hip-hop legend in both the CHH and mainstream industries, released to us, arguably one of the most relevant albums of this current 2020 period. I even reviewed the album a few months ago (can be viewed here), and upon the backs of one of the most emotive and heartfelt rap albums I’ve heard in quite some time, Lecae also has released a brand new album- Restoration: The Deluxe Album, expanding the original 14 track album to a 20 track one, complete with remixes and original songs written for the particular album. An album that can actually get you hooked on rap music in all the good ways possible, Lecrae’s passion to deliver songs from real life, is what makes Restoration: The Deluxe Album (and then in turn Restoration); and a lot of his music career, so appealing. Unveiled with plenty of songs written out of experiences in lockdown, quarantine, and the general unrest in America at the moment, Restoration: The Deluxe Album is a must-have for anyone who loves deep-thinking rap, hip-hop with a message, or just Lecrae’s stuff from before.
Considering that I reviewed the album before (a few months ago, can be viewed here), I won’t repeat myself. But what I will say is this- the deluxe tracks enhance the album so much. Standing at a whopping 20 as opposed to the 14 present on the standard album; the remaining 6 tracks add a different flavour and a vibrancy that enhances the album holistically and gives Lecrae’s latest music offering some clout and prestige, reminding us all of the reason why Lecrae has been impacting people around the world for years now. ‘Ten Toes’ starts off the deluxe edition-only songs, and presents with it, a hard-hitting song that depicts what is happening in society right now- presenting to the fore, hard-issues like BLM, and the deaths of people like Breonna Taylor, and yet through all the adversity and difficulty that 2020 has brought with it so far, we can still rest assured that though ‘…Earth is a mess, but He still rose, long as the tomb is empty, I got hope by plenty, ain’t nobody can steal those, I know that heaven got real foes, me, I ain’t worries, He kills those, I just stay close to the Shepherd, the valley of death gotta chew on these steel toes…’ ‘Rich and Famous’ follows along from ’10 Toes’, and presents this theme that being ‘rich’ and ‘famous’, with all the houses, money, chasing fame, thrills, women, men, friends, chasing the next best thing…it’s all gonna fade in the end. ‘Rich & Famous’ reminds us all that this lifestyle, superficial but alluring, doesn’t satisfy, while the next song ‘Come Thru Jesus’, is another hard-hitting song, that features plenty of bass and percussion and makes this song become a groovy dance-rap track, while also presenting the theme of asking the Lord to come through in our darkest moments of need. ‘Deep End’, a remix of the original song (from the album), features Rapsody that presents to us an entirely new verse to the track, all the while making this rendition of it, one that is so much more exciting as this unique rendition will reach a totally new audience than the original recording of the song, previously. The EP then ends with ‘Restored’ and ‘Celebrate More’, the former being a collaboration between Lecrae and a few of his friends, as the song presents each person’s personal testimony of restoration, while the latter is a celebratory track featuring rappers Andy Mineo and Hulvey as we’re reminded of the need for celebration and appreciation in this life, and especially now in 2020, our need to be grateful and be in a mood that will count out blessings, even if we believe we don’t have many to begin with. Both ‘Celebrate More’ and ‘Restored’ are great standouts, not only in and amongst the 6 deluxe songs on the album, but throughout the whole album period.
Lecrae’s music will always allow us to be challenged into looking deep within ourselves to ask the questions that maybe may not have been asked if it wasn’t for the music. And Lecrae’s Restoration: The Deluxe Album is no different. Lecrae’s songs, especially songs like ‘Drown’, ‘Set Me Free’ and ‘Deep End’ on the standard edition, and ‘Celebrate More’ and ‘Restored’ from the deluxe edition, have all spoken to me over the last few months, and reminded me of how real, relevant and necessary rap music is, especially Christian Hip Hop/Rap, to the current culture and society right now. People are longing for something more than the vapid superlative stuff we are seeing at the moment in the rap culture, and Lecrae gives us a great alternative for this. Speaking about difficult issues in songs throughout his whole entire career thus far (see songs like ‘Welcome to America’, ‘Messengers’, ‘Don’t Waste Your Life’, ‘Background’ and ‘Just Like You’, to name a few); Lecrae has basically been an advocate for all the things I’m sure Jesus would’ve stood up for if He were here now, and for that, Lecrae’s involvement in things that may be considered controversial to be involved in, is why I consider Lecrae to as influential as he is in music and society as a whole. Sure other rap artists are influential in shaping culture and society, maybe in a negative way, but Lecrae’s music, and challenging the status quo, is something that can impact people and bring about a movement of introspection and loving without reservation, long after the artist is said and done with their music. Well done Lecrae for the ministry and music that has been given to us all, going to thoroughly enjoy Restoration: The Deluxe Album on repeat for the upcoming weeks and months ahead!
3 songs to listen to: Rich & Famous, Restored, Celebrate More
RIYL: KB, Tedashii, Andy Mineo, NF, Trip Lee