Lecrae has recently become one of the biggest names in all of Christian hip-hop. Some of yall are probably familiar with the Reach Records Artist from his first album "Real Talk". I admit that I wasn't really sure what to expect from the sophomore project "After the Music Stops" but I bought it anyways because people were telling me that Lecrae's music was hot. Although I typically favor rugged, underground east coast hip-hop, following a few listens of "After the Music Stops" I quickly became a Lecrae fan.
Right from the beginning on "After the Music Stops" Lecrae lets the listener know what his purpose is. It is to be able to fellowship with cats, disciple them, and reach out to and witness to the unbelievers. He makes it clear that his goal is not to blow up, or boast in himself; but his goal is to point listeners to Christ whether he is on stage or or off stage. " Ya boy ain't no rap star, I'm nothing like Jay-Z or Game/ I got a funny sounding name and I don't wanna be famous" is a line off "Invisible" and points to Lecraes desire to stay humble. "Get Low" contains a catchy hook and is another jam pointing the listener to humility. Lecrae makes it plain that he wants to live a true Christian life even following a show, "After the Music Stops". I can honestly say that if this album was all "dirty south" type beats it probably wouldn't appeal to me as much. "After the Music Stops" shows Lecrae's versatility to spit over "crunk" beats as well as more laid back emotional tracks. Don't get me wrong though. I am really feeling some of the down south flavor on this album. The second I heard "Jesus Muzik" featuring Trip Lee I fell in love with it and I think it's probably the most popular HHH single of 2006. I'm also feelin the head nodder "Unshamed" featuring Tedashii. These two members of the 1:16 Clique make it real clear they live by Romans 1:16. "Send Me" produced by Tony Stone is like the "witness anthem" that will get you hype to go outside of your comfort zone and share your faith. Lecrae addresses the Christian complacency saying, "No one's signing up to go on mission's this summer/ Rather sit at home and watch Xzibit pimpin a hummer."
Lecrae gets a little more mellow over the cuts "I Did It For You" and "Nobody". On both songs he shows his compassion for unbelievers in a heartfelt manner. "I Did it For You" is a dope testimonial song and "Nobody" featuring Cam is my favorite jam on the CD, on which they really just empathize with the unbeliever who feels lonely and like nobody loves them The truth of the matter is that Jesus loves them and they gotta trust in Him. I was diggin Lecrae's approach as it was not judgmental but he was reaching cats where they were at on the emotional level.
Lecrae demonstrates his story telling ability on "Death Story" and "Praying for You" which are both over sentimental type beats. Lecrae shows his transparency on "Praying for You" by admitting at the end the whole song was about him and his spiritual struggles. Crae shows his desire to defend the faith on songs like "It's Your World" featuring banging verses from Redeemed Thought and Sho who are just a few of the guests off this CD that contribute greatly. JR, Diamone and Cam bring forth some awesome vocals on various tracks and help balance the album out with their sweet sounding hooks. Cam's acoustic "El Shaddai" is a marvelous jam and brings me to worship the Lord everytime I hear it. Tony Stone, DJ Official, Mac the Doulos, Lecrae, N.A.B., J.R. and TRU-LIFE round out the talented list of producers who helped out for this project. "After the Music Stops" is one of the best CDs I have heard in 2006. Lecrae's flows are clever but straight to the point and his delivery is very clear. What really stands out on this CD is the content and Lecrae's desire to decrease while Christ increases. This project is one that will encourage Christians to go out and disciple someone, share their faith, be thankful for a God that loves them, and help them to reflect on the gospel. Unbelievers who hear this project will benefit from the simplicity of Lecrae's terminology and great analogies and they will be able to see that Lecrae is coming in love and not just pointing the finger at them. At the same time listeners will have fun listening to the CD and will want to sing along to a lot of the catchy hooks. There are a few beats that I couldn't get down with like " The Truth" and "Run" but besides that this album is pretty much flawless. I can be picky with what I like but I would recommend buying "After the Music Stops" to anyone who reads this review. Warning: You will be EDIFIED by this CD.
Release Date: 2006
Record Label: Cross Movement Records / Reach Records
1. After the Music Stops
2. Jesus Muzik (feat. Trip Lee)
3. I Did It for You (feat. Diamone)
4. The Truth
6. Send Me
7. It's Your World (feat. Redeemed Thought, Sho)
8. Grateful (feat. J.R.)
9. King Intro
10. The King (feat. FLAME)
11. Invisible (feat. Diamone)
12. Get Low
13. Prayin for You
14. Nobody (feat. Cam)
15. Death Story
16. Unashamed (feat. Tedashii)
17. El Shaddai