Professional sports are known for their intensity. Whether its running up and down a basketball court for hours at a time or being pummeled into the ground by a lineman who might be twice your size, being a professional athlete is intense.
Hip Hop might be comparable in intensity. Pressure comes with the job. Pressure to release your new project on time, pressure to align your art with the labels vision, pressure to make sure that your music impacts each listener in a unique way.
Lecrae has been known to dabble in both, being a basketball player and Grammy award winning hip hop artist. And now with his growing popularity Lecrae has been blessed with the opportunity to speak to, pray with, and influence world famous, and sometimes idolized, athletes, as well as the hundreds of thousands of people that follow him on twitter.
Lecrae’s unashamed attitude within the context of his faith coupled with his 859,000 Twitter followers, sold out shows, and prescence in sports locker rooms provide some challenges and unique opportunities to be heard.
“I do understand that with great power comes great responsibility. I take it seriously, but I don’t feel like, “Oh man, I gotta live differently now.” Im still being me” said Lecrae in a recent interview with Jonathan Peltz on Noisey - Music by Vice.
Lecrae at any one time on twitter has at least 859,000 people watching him, and although he has the power to shape and influence the culture around him, he is still subject to persecution, scrutiny, and judgment.
“I definitely understand the repercussions in light of me being so vocal about my faith. I can understand the repercussions of not living up to what people’s standards may be”, said Lecrae to Noisey.
His influence doesn’t just extend into the often-chaotic realm of social media. It extends into the locker rooms of some of the world’s most famous sports teams and into the hearts of some of the world’s most famous athletes. Per "ESPN", Lecrae has been invited to pray with Team USA men's basketball, the Kings and Timberwolves in the NBA; the Giants, Falcons and Buccaneers in the NFL; and the Yankees, Braves, White Sox, Giants and Diamondbacks in MLB. Lecrae also recently performed following an Atlanta Hawks basketball game.
Steph Curry and Jeremy Lin, both increasingly popular superstars in the NBA, posted on social media with the hashtag Anomaly, the title of Lecrae’s 7th studio album to be released in August, with a unique story about their path to where they have landed.
Lecrae described his relationship with athletes like Lin and Curry by saying, “We’re all anomalies in the sense that you might look at us the same way like, “I don’t get it; you don’t sit here; you don’t belong; a morally upstanding hip-hop artist? What is that? It doesn’t make sense to me.” But we all have stories, and we all have unique stories that make us who we are.”
Other athlete's that have shown support for Anomaly are U.S. Olympic Fencer Daryl Homer, Pro Bowl Defensive End Justin Tuck of the Oakland Raiders, Spencer Patton of the Kansas City Royals, Josh Hamilton of the Angels.
"Bubba Watson and I are pretty close. We hang out from time to time, and he comes to Atlanta, where I live, and I go out to Phoenix, where he lives. Dwight Howard and I are buddies, Justin Forsett who plays for the Houston Texans, Anthony Tolliver who's now on the Hawks -- there are a lot of guys. Nolan Smith from the Trail Blazers. They're just buddies, man. It's just friends. We enjoy athletics, we enjoy hip-hop and we have similar backgrounds, similar stories." Lecrae shared with "ESPN".
Whether Lecrae intended to make his way into NBA, MLB, and NHL locker rooms isn’t quite important. The important thing to note is that Lecrae, with the power of hip hop, art, and the Holy Spirit, has blessed, related to, and changed forever the athletes we adore along with each and every person who has heard his music.