Published on June 4th, 2018 | by Nicole Vear
Ministry in the Trap. Lecrae and Zaytoven Release New Song and Art for Upcoming Project
When an artist concedes to the language and cultural pulse of home and spiritual faithfulness is committed to his tongue, God has found a vessel and the vessel has found God. Lecrae’s resoluteness to reach spaces others musically committed to the word may not, vis-a-vis 808s, hi hats and synths shows his willingness to tread new waters to a familiar destination. If one of those spaces he travels through is the proverbial Trap, then he walks it like he talks it. Teaming up with one of Trap music’s most potent creators, Zaytoven, the duo are set to release a project together this month.
Let the Church Say Amen is a mixtape that finds the church organist/Grammy-Award-winning producer providing the sonic backdrop to the Grammy Award-winning lyricist’s testimonies. On June 1st, the duo shared the project’s first single “Get Back Right” and its tracklist. Accompanied by Zaytoven’s signature piano arrangement driven production, “Get Back Right” finds Lecrae telling 2 stories of materially having and then having not, while being spiritually empty then spiritually filled. He ebbs: “Bottles on bottles on bottles and models/On models on models and dollars on dollars/Yeah, that don’t help me when my soul wanna holler/When I’m feelin’ the pain and I’m dealing with drama,”. Then he flows: “I don’t really stress, I pray more/Dear Lord, stretch my queso/I’ve been doin’ this since you was like, Otro nuevo playin’ with your Legos/Look, I don’t cap, I rap facts/You can go and check the stats/You and your squad versus me and my God/Look, bro, you ain’t finna win that now.” Lecrae is determined to get back right.
With Trap music’s feature presentations of dope boys and drugs (reflective of the exploits of black communities in poverty and under siege), Lecrae seeks to expand who in the trap, Trap music speaks about. “You can’t pigeonhole our communities. Everyone in the Trap ain’t trappin”. This challenges the dominant trap lens in a similar way Big Boi of Outkast did in the 1998 song “Spottieottiedopalicious” in which he raps, “United Parcel Service and the people at the Post Office didn’t call you back because you had cloudy piss/So now you back in the trap, just that, trapped/Go on and marinate on that for a minute.” It is an ode to the human and spiritual need to live un-trapped yet, the complexity for some in trying to do so.
In an editorial written for DJBoth.com, Lecrae writes “There’s a whole other side to the trap that doesn’t get exposed. Most of our grandmothers still live in the trap, cooking for everyone, and making sure someone’s uncle who is going through a rough patch has a bedroom in back. Families struggling to make ends meet, but everyone knows everyone. There’s dignity in there. Sure, I’ve let a couple of junkies cut my grass for the low, but I treated them like people, not zombies.” He continues, “Yeah, there may be a dope boy or two on the corner, but there’s also a church on every other one. Some of those churches are pillars in the community, not full of Pulpit Pimps.”
Lecrae’s last album All Things Work Together (Columbia Records) out last September, was his first release under a major label. The upcoming project Let the Church Say Amen will be released on Reach Records, the label founded by Lecrae in 2004. The mixtape includes two features with Waka Flaka and nobigdyl. Slated to be released on June 22nd, Lecrae hopes to let it be known with Let the Trap Say Amen that “The trap does more than say “Aye.” It says “Amen.”