Music Review: Let The Trap Say Amen
So Lecrae’s album, Let the Trap Say Amen, snuck up on us, to be honest. People have been busy talking about Drake getting destroyed by Pusha-T and his good album Daytona, the Nas album Nasir, and the surprising drop of an album by Jay-Z and Beyoncé—the “Jay-Z gets his punishment for cheating” album. As you can see, I listen to secular music A LOT. So in reviewing Lecrae's album, don't expect this to be a "holier than thou" review.
But I have to start by saying Lecrae has successfully performed the career moves necessary to remove himself from the category of “Christian rapper.” He’s produced an album in which Jesus’s actual name is not mentioned one time. In effect, he has successfully left the Christian hip hop (CHH) fan base. I don't say this because he did a song with Waka Flocka or has "secular" content. It's simply because no definite attempt to include any gospel proclamation or mention of Jesus occurs. DMX & Chance have clearer messages and references to who God is. This is not an attempt to bash him, but it is a fact. And it changes how one should review his album.
In general, I would say the album is average. He picked a bad week to drop, considering the competition in the field right now. Even ignoring the competition, it sounds like a Migos demo tape. The beats are good on the album—Zaytoven delivered. But you cannot out Migos the Migos. The Migos have changed hip-hop's sound and when an obvious attempt to jump in their lane is attempted, it has to be stellar to garner attention. The lyrics and style don’t deliver, I almost started imagining what off-set would mumble on some of the tracks. Despite not being an explicitly Christian album, there are some uplifting messages hidden throughout the album.
If I use the CHH lens, the album is further below average and doesn’t live up to the standard Lecrae himself has set (a standard Lecrae has stated he doesn’t want to be judged by anymore). This verse by Lecrae sums up the album and him:
They say he forgot that truth, now all he talk is money
I say truth is that my people in the hood and hungry
You don't really know my calling
You don't really want these problems
I stay fresh to death, but boy my whole team gotta be balling
It is clear as day. It is true people are in the hood and hungry—that is a FACT! But can we be fed motivation, activism, and at least a side of the gospel? Is a sip of gospel too much to ask for? The apparent answer to that question is “YES!” I never thought I’d hear a Crae album that referenced selling drug selling but never mention God’s revealed name Jesus. Here is an example with ()’s for translation:
Ay, 30 pounds (a signifcant about of drugs), yuh, cut it up, bust it down
Then go hit the mound (go sell it to the fiends), yeah
Pitch it, get it out the ground, yeah
Get it up out of the mud
Don't call up me for the dub (I sell big dope, not this small stuff)
I got them quarters and halves (yea…get money… baller)
Sell the whole thing by the half
Blue strip (slang for money), blue strip, blue strip, watch me whip this new whip
I have to say this is a solid D-boy verse. I’ve never said Crae can’t rap, but he doesn’t make coke selling sound cooler than Jadakiss or Pusha-T in this genre. In the song, he talks about how not to judge and then shares his “truth:”
I don't condone it but I don't condemn, I know she a gem
'Fore we hate we outta volunteer to help her change careers
I say ‘his truth’ because for this album he defines his calling and the truth as “people in the hood are hungry.” Not that they’re “in the hood and hungry and need God.“
Originally, I was going to review the album song by song. But eventually, I decided not to. It’s a decent album at best. If you are a CHH fan and are style hoping for clear gospel proclamation that bus left the station a while ago. If you just want that feel from the current hot type of music it is merely an ok album.
Personally, if I want that new feel of music that is popular, I am throwing on some 6ix 9ine or Pusha T. There is no reason to flirt with secular music. If you gonna do it, just do it. Skip Lecrae.