It was a Thursday night service at the church of Lecrae. Only it wasn’t church. But it kind of was.
Lecrae’s loyal following snaked around the venue long before the doors opened. The “congregation” was one of the most diverse I’ve seen at a concert — young, old, black, white, latino. They filled the Ogden with energy and anticipation to see the Grammy-nominated, Dove-winning artist do his thing: fuse positive, Christian worldview poetry with a high-energy, hip-hop performance.
Over the years, a lot of Christian music has been guilty of creative plagiarism, copping a trendy band’s sound, adding safe and preachy lyrics, and ultimately producing a cheap knock-off in the name of Jesus. Flanked by fellow rapper DJ Cannon for most of the night and backed by a drummer and live DJ, Lecrae made a case for being a credible artist. The crowd bought in from the first beat and never wavered, spiking its enthusiasm over the renditions of “APB,” “God Is Enough” and “Don’t Waste Your Life.”
If there was a weakness to the show, it was that a certain sense of “sameness” began to permeate the venue 45 minutes into the set. However, a restrained rendition of “Background” and funky delivery of “Free From It All” with a surprise appearance by Mathai (a contestant from “The Voice”), provided two welcome breaks from the barrage of rapid fire lyrics.
And then, suddenly, the music portion of church was over and the minister took the pulpit. Lecrae transformed into a surprisingly articulate professor of his own hard journey from gangs and hopelessness to purpose and faith, claiming that the crowd was “made for more, so they should stop living like they were made for less.”
Alan Cox is the president/creative director of Cox Creative, a Highlands Ranch-based creative shop. He works too much, sleeps too little and spends every free moment coaching baseball, shooting images and hanging out with his rowdy sons and rowdier wife. Check out his photos here.
Ty Hyten is a Denver photographer and a new contributor to Reverb.