The news of the release of Lecrae’s fourth studio album “Rehab” stirred up a deep well of anticipation in me. This anticipation was knotted with hopes that he would not only prove to be one of the best rappers out there, but also relay a great message. With his third album, “Rebel”, being one of the most definitive albums of Christian rap, Lecrae Moore, Reach Records co-founder and Cross Movement Records affiliate, had set a stage for himself. It was therefore no surprise that I unconsciously had scrutinized everything that concerned “Rehab” before its release. I also created a standard in my mind on which Lecrae was to do nothing but rise above.
“Rehab”, however, succeeded in defending its ‘title’. It is laced with a maverick style, a level of depth that is clearly not characteristic of modern rap, as well as a central concept that remained glued even when styles were diversified on the album. “Rehab” contains a prescription of 17 tracks featuring J.R., Chris Lee, J. Paul as well as co-members of the 116 Clique; Tedashii, Sho Baraka, Flame, PRo and Trip Lee.
Messages of rehabilitation, salvation and redemption were beautifully spread across the album. “Check In” clearly depicts Lecrae’s admittance of the fact that he needs to be in rehab as the kick knocks and he whispers ‘Che-che-che-check me in now!….i know my addiction got me sick’. “Killa” addresses the topic – pride but I do not feel Lecrae made full use of the energy of the beat (that doesn’t stop it from being my personal favorite). “Divine Intervention” which features and was produced by J.R., is quite laid back and is beautiful!. It was however interesting to note that Lecrae also reflects in his lyrics, his personal problems and his struggle against his ‘flesh’. “Just Like You” for example, reflects his problems growing up as a fatherless child and his joys of being a father. (For the emotional ones, you might need to get a box of tissues while listening to this one).
Switching of musical styles on the album was smooth. “Rehab” spills into Rock and Reggae genres while preserving the hip-hop/ rap feel which it primarily is. “Gotta Know”, “Background”, “Boasting”, and “God Is Enough” are interesting fusions of two or more styles which ultimately produce appealing rhythms. No wonder the album hit #3 on the iTunes chart in all of America on the day of its release. The major problem I had with the album, however, was the insufficiency of laid-back songs which may have made the whole idea of “Rehab” a perfect one.
“Rehab” is Lecrae’s best work yet and the album is worth the title. I think it’s a prefect therapy for those who are in Christ but suspect that they are torn between the worlds of self-dependence and a spiritual thirst. Its content, style and delivery are not to be touched! It has set a trend for gospel rap and will definitely be a model-album.
Review by Toni Kuyinu