Are you an Anomaly? On his 7th solo album Lecrae shares his own story, but along the way he's probably hoping that you'll learn a bit about yourself as well. The Atlanta-based rapper broke down two of the essential tracks on Anomaly for us and explained what inspired him while recording the project.
With "All I Need is You," for example, he hopes to promote healthier relationships in hip-hop. But as can probably tell from the title of the album, a lot of this is about walking your own path and doing it bravely.
"The title of the album has been a running thought in my head for a long time because I've always been a trans cultural person," he told MTV News. "My friends are from all from different walks of life, I can exist in conservative circles and liberal circles, I walk in the hip-hop, pop and Christian worlds -- I can still be me and be embraced in all of those worlds and that makes me an Anomaly."
Still, not everyone understands that concept, and that was all the more reason to pour it into an album. "It's baffling and confusing to some people, and frustrating to other people, but it's me and I've always wrestled with that," he added. "But I finally came to grips with making an album about it."
You'll notice that Anomaly is light on features, and that wasn't by chance. Lecrae emphasizes that the album was about telling his story, and sharing with fans what's going on in his life.
Here's what he had to say about two essential tracks on Anomaly.
"All I Need Is You"
Let's be honest -- for all the great things that hip-hop has achieved culturally, shining a positive light on monogamous relationships certainly isn't one of them. The genre has faced plenty of criticism for being misogynistic, and while we have to accept that a siazble portion of that is purely for entertainment, there are still very few artists waving the flag for healthy relationships. Lecrae hopes to change that, beginning with a song like "A I Need is You."
"When you see Jay Z and Beyonce, [you think], okay, marriage is cool now. They set a trend and I think that's healthy," he explained. "It's just continuing with that trend of -- what if we're monogamous? What if we're consistent in our relationships? What if we tell the truth? What if we don't lie? What if we don't cheat? What if we love somebody and we're not afraid to say it in a hip-hop song? You've gotta continue to set trends and be different."
"Welcome to America"
Everyone has a different story to tell and on the track "Welcome to America" Lecrae uses multiple characters to remind us just how much those stories can vary. There's nothing like seeing -- well, this in case, hearing -- a new perspective, to expand your own borders a little.
"'Welcome to America' is a special song because I think everyone has a unique perspective on America," Lecrae explained. "I wrote the song from three different perspectives, so there's three different people who have different perspectives of what America is."
"You've got a guy who's from one community, another guy from a completely different community and then you've got a person who's not from America and [it's] their perspective on what America is. Eeryone sees it differently, through different lenses, and it makes us stake a step back and look at ourselves."
He shot some footage while on tour in Hong Kong, Australia and New Zealand and some of that just might end up in a video for the song. "Everyone wants to see a video treatment for that [song] because the images are [so] vivid," he added. "When I'm going through the song you can see the characters and what they're going through."
Anomaly is out now, you can grab it on iTunes.