by Sam Robinson
Earlier this year when Christian hip-hop royalty Lecrae Moore announced he would be releasing his seventh studio album named Anomaly, it sent social media into a spin and showed many (including myself) how difficult the title is to spell. Then when single Nuthin dropped, there was some surprise about Lecrae’s blast on the music industry, stating that most songs are little more than meaningless.
With Nuthin and another few leaked singles massaging my eardrums over the last few months, I was wondering whether Anomaly would indeed rise to the self-imposed challenge of talking about something. Fortunately, listening to this record, it’s clear that Lecrae is not only willing to be meaningful, but also completely transparent in the process.
Anomaly is an album of real, intentional, tightly-produced music focussed on identity. Who are we as believers? How do we fit into this world? Will we ever fit into this world? And what defines us? These questions are all in the spotlight as Lecrae spills his heart, his hurts, his struggles and his life into music. To be as raw as he is on this album takes a whole lot of guts but challenges us to stand out in a world filled with brokenness.
Anomaly opens with cinematic bombast on Outsiders. It talks about who we are as Christians. We are bound to have struggles with identity because really, we aren’t at home on this earth. It reminded me of 1 Peter 2:11-12:
Dear friends, I urge you, as foreigners and exiles, to abstain from sinful desires, which wage war against your soul. Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.
Welcome to America contains a threatening beat with world music influences. Lecrae talks about his past and his issues with the nation he (temporarily) calls home, over great piano movement. Say I Won’t (feat. Andy Mineo) continues the outsiders idea with a grunty sound but a hopeful message. It speaks about not fitting into a mould and goes to the next level of a call to action. And Lecrae confesses he smuggles mineral water into the movies, which is pretty wild.
Lead single Nuthin boasts a great beat with grimy 80s bass. Lecrae admits he’s keen to be real: ‘Imma talk about it!’
It’s followed by title track/interlude Anomaly, which is packed with jazzy punch and a smooth bass line. It seems to be a summary of the tracks heard so far on the album, and praises God for the new identity we are given in Christ: ‘Thank God my kingdom was overthrown by the soul redeemer.’
Our use of time is questioned on Timepiece and Lecrae challenges himself on his desire for material possessions: ‘Fame, money success are competing for my investments but I can’t take them with me when it’s time for me to exit.’ Dirty Water contains a menacing grind and confronts about our intentions behind good deeds, and slavery to materialism.
Wish is full of dreamy, poppy production and speaks about regrets and struggles with sin. It appeals to our universal desire to change the past, when we should trust control to God: ‘Maybe I can turn it around?’
Runners is a pretty honest track about lust, in a similar vein to Swoope’s LSD from earlier this year. ‘I was on the trail of another female.’ Lecrae spits out the verses and warns himself and us with a repeated ‘Don’t do it!’ It’s short but direct, and memorable.
Single All I Need is You is one of the biggest, bounciest songs on the album, and slots in thematically after Runners. It’s a love song from Lecrae to his wife and contains one of the best grinds on the album.
Give In (feat. Crystal Nicole) is probably the first loaded pop track on the album. The backing track is great but Lecrae’s singing falls a little flat.
With only a few tracks to go, Lecrae raises the bar on Good, Bad, Ugly. It continues talking about the struggle of sin with extremely transparent lyrics. As Lecrae shared on the Bad Christian podcast, this is an honest reflection on an abortion that Lecrae went through with his girlfriend more than a decade ago and the burden he carried that is now taken away by Jesus. The song is dark but opens up into light when he talks of his Saviour: ‘The future looks bright, I see the light on’.
Some special guests are saved for the closing moments on Anomaly. Broken (feat. Kari Jobe) is all about the brokenness of humanity and it gets real. ‘We all need grace in the face of each other.’ Through clever wordplay Lecrae takes the nursery rhyme of Humpty Dumpty and brings some truth to the tale:
‘Fell off the wall of purity doing the Humpty dance.
Forget the kings horses, forget the king’s men,
the King is coming to put us back together again.’
It’s about asking God to restore us from our brokenness and to make us whole again, and is incredibly positive and hopeful. The album closes with Messengers (feat. for KING & COUNTRY) and it seems like a natural sequel to Lecrae’s 2012 hit Tell the World. It’s an anthemic pop track to close the album and is filled with the pounding drums you’d expect from for KING & COUNTRY.
Thematically Lecrae hits the nail on the head on this album. Anomaly is perhaps his most honest record to date and proves that he is willing to talk about something real, something true, and something he cares about. In a world that wants us to be shaped by it, material wealth, or past regrets, we’re reminded that our identity comes from Christ and Christ alone. I’m giving Anomaly four out of five stars.
Anomaly by Lecrae is available now on iTunes.