Lecrae Hopes New Album and Book Will ‘Restore the View the Black Community Has of Itself’, Discusses Upcoming Projects, Business Ventures, and Partnerships to Help Restore Atlanta’s English Avenue

Lecrae (Image: Alex Harper)

Lecrae Devaughn Moore is a Grammy award-winning hip-hop artist, best-selling author, entrepreneur, philanthropist, and co-owner and president of Reach Records. His 2014 album, Anomaly, debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200, the first album to top both the Billboard 200 and the Gospel Charts simultaneously. He has sold more than 3 million copies and been nominated for five Grammy Awards, including a win for Best Gospel Album. He also received 15 Dove Awards, one Billboard Music Award, and a Soul Train Music Award, and a BET Hip-Hop Nomination.

In an exclusive interview with BLACK ENTERPRISE, the artist and businessman opened up about his new projects and entrepreneurship.

BE: What is the most important thing you are working on now?

Moore: With conversation rising about the number of teens committing suicide and the heightened conversations around mental health awareness and suicide prevention, this is the perfect time for my ninth album, Restoration. I’m also writing another book, I Am Restored, due out later this year. A follow-up to my first book, Unashamed, I Am Restored, chronicles how I’ve navigated the highs and lows of success and celebrity and shares how coming into faith has helped to restore, transform, and define who I am as a man, father, community activist, entrepreneur, and philanthropist.

Can you tell us a little more about your new album, Restoration?

For Restoration, I’ve gotten to work with a lot of major artists. I’m excited to put out some healing music. I want people to know that you’re never too messed up for a restoration. Second divorce, prison sentence, it doesn’t matter. There’s always hope, healing, and restoration available if you seek it.

Restoration seems to be a big theme for you. What have you done and/or doing in terms of ‘Restoration?

I want to restore the view the black community has of itself. We can change the narrative, empower the disenfranchised, and close wealth gaps. We can restore the dignity that was stripped from us. We can lean on God to restore our sense of purpose and worth. I am partnered on several projects to restore Atlanta’s English Avenue, an area known for its rampant drug trafficking and violent crime statistics. I’m also an active member of the Board of Advisory for Peace Academy, the first school in the English Avenue area to be opened in more than 20 years.

Does the distinction of performing gospel separate you from other rappers or does it put you in line with other rappers who only perform secular music?

The distinction is very important to those who want to neatly place the artist in boxes, but for me, it’s about being authentic to who I am. Jay-Z is who he is for hip hop as Kirk Franklin is the same for Gospel. But I live in between those two worlds. I’m passionate about my faith and the art of rap. 

Gospel has exploded more into the mainstream lately. Do you see more converts in the near future? Does it affect the way you do business and/or music knowing that trend has translated into someone like Kanye West making a big splash?

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SOURCE: Black Enterprise, Cedric Thornton