by Callahan Jones
Since the release of Lecrae’s second album, “After the Music Stops” in 2006 and his Billboard Gospel charts-topping third release, “Rebel,” in 2008, Lecrae has been at the top of the Christian music game. With each release he has gotten more and more outspoken about his views on the world, mainly through the lens of his Christian faith.
All of his previous work has come to a culmination in his new release, “All Things Work Together.”
“All Things Work Together” tackles a diverse range of issues, including race relations, Christians’ expectations of musicians, and depression and anxiety. Lecrae covers these topics with an equally diverse range of musical stylings. It also boasts an impressive list of features, including popular rapper Ty Dolla $ign and prolific female singer Tori Kelly.
The first three tracks, “Always Knew,” “Facts” and “Broke” focus on how Lecrae’s rough upbringing in poverty has helped mold him into the person he is today. These tracks all feature powerful beats that back up the powerful messages.
On “Always Knew,” he tells of his journey to where he is and how his faith and friends have helped him.
“Facts” proclaims his disappointment with Christians who turn a blind eye to issues they don’t want to believe exist, while telling him to “stay in his lane.” In his own words, “Aw man, now they actin’ like I’m suddenly political, Told me shut my mouth and get my checks from Evangelicals.”
While this isn’t the first time Lecrae has expressed frustration with parts of his fan base, “Facts” contain the strongest words he has ever used, a fact that could be divisive for some.
“Broke” rotates around the hook “Bein’ broke made me rich, bein’ broke made me high.” It focuses on how Lecrae’s lowly upbringing makes it easier for him to focus on what matters: his relationship with Jesus.
The first three songs all feature prominent bass and snare patterns. However, they always pull back at the right times to put emphasis on powerful lyrics. “Facts” does feature a weird beat change that feels like a mistake.
“Blessings” features a more chill beat, higher-pitched vocals, and rapper Ty Dolla $ign. It talks about the many blessings that Lecrae has received in his life.
“Watchu Mean,” “Hammer Time” and “Come and Get Me” all hit hard — lyrically and musically. The album then transitions into a mellow, slower R&B vibe over the songs “Lucked Up,” “Wish You The Best” and “Can’t Stop Me Now (Destination).”
This style change is somewhat of a shock, but it is a welcome change. It provides a bit of relief after six loud and driving tracks.
In “Can’t Stop Me Now (Destination)” Lecrae makes a hard turn for the more serious. Earlier in the album he had already talked about his frustration with other Christians wanting him to fit into a box. Here, he starts to talk about the effect it had on him. He speaks of doubting God and falling into depression.
This sets the stage for “I’ll Find You,” “8:28,” “Cry for You” and the album finale “Worth It.” All are much more upbeat songs that focus on the hope we have in Jesus Christ.
“8:28” is a reference to Romans 8:28, “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose,” from which the title of the album is taken and seems to be the theme of the entire album.
Coming in at 54 minutes, “All Things Work Together” is on the long side and gets repetitive in its message. I would cut “Blessings.” It doesn’t add anything to the album and sticks out stylistically and in message. However, this is definitely Lecrae’s best album to date.
It is much more cohesive in message than any of his previous projects and the quality of both the beats and the lyrics have risen. Overall, Lecrae’s “All Things Work Together” is a new high for Lecrae that puts him back on top of the Christian rap game.
Callahan Jones is a junior journalism major and the Digital and Design editor for Cedars. In his free time, he enjoys making coffee, collecting headphones and playing games with friends.