Its been along time since I wrote a blog entry. Reviewing entire albums takes more time than just one song and I am a processor, (aka slooow thinker), so today’s review has been along time coming. Historically, I haven’t been a fan of rap. The fact that I like listening to Lecrae is new and different to me, and I suspect that the only reason I haven’t liked this genre in the past is because it normally is very shall we say perverse in many avenues. Its hard for me to review a genre that I know little to nothing about but I’ll do my best.
Rebel is Lecrae’s third album and the title states his theme which he spins out in many ways. What he means by rebel he explains in the first song: Rebel Intro. This is one of my favorites on the album and there are a few quotes by Seattle pastor Mark Driscoll (my husband went to his church Marshill before we got married).
I’m in rebellion (repeat a few times)
to all my rebels out there, rebelling against the culture, being transformed,
do not be conformed to the ways of this world, to this age
welcome to the revolution
Jesus was a rebel, renegade, outlaw, (something), troublemaker
but he never sinned naw
and he lived his life by a different set of rules
the culture ain’t approved
so you know they had to bruise him
that’s the way they do
man they smell so gangsta
everyone the same
everybody do the same stuff
tattoos, piercings, smoking up and drinking, money, sex
plus them extravagant weekends
man if that’s the high life I’ll puff puff pass that
(can’t tell what he says here)
I guess I’m passed that
I’m in rebellion
I’d rather have a dollar in my pocket then a million in scandal.
(don’t know what he says here)
I remain a rebel while the rest of them just carry on
this is what I live for, this is what I’m buried on
Jesus is the truth that means one of us is very wrong.
Think about it!
Chorus: I’m in rebellion (repeat)
Mark Driscoll: I know in our day, rebel means sinner, but everyone is sinning so its no longer rebellious to sin.
Jesus was a rebel who was counter-cultural.
Lecrae: no glory in me all glory is to the king on the throne
you either love him or you leave him alone
but you can’t do both
yeah I know you heard that once in a song
I pray you hear ten more before you’re gone
Hey listen I’m on stages, corners, crowded streets
Yeah I rap the bread of life because they dying to eat
hey I’m a rebel, you know the kind that die in the street
cause you refuse something something won’t eat the king’s meat
Christ rebelled by shunning the culture
he ate with the sinners, gave the pharisees ulcers
he never got married, he was broke plus homeless
yeah that’s the guy I roll with
your boy got a wife, no I never cheat, I’m praying for humility
(can’t tell here)
forget about the drugs, rebel against pornography
this ain’t how it oughta homey its how its gotta be. Rebel!
Mark Driscoll: you’re just a conformist, if you’re drunk and naked
driving around on a loud motorcycle,
smoking cigarettes, and breaking commandments,
getting pregnant out of wedlock.
Everyone’s done that. That’s so tired!
If you really want to be a rebel read your bible, because no one’s doing that.
that’s rebellion, that’s the only rebellion left.
The whole idea on this album is to rebel against sin by living a life glorified to the Lord. This plays out in various ways, whether it is abstaining form certain activities (like in Rebel Intro), not giving into our temptations (like in Indwelling Sin) or repenting when we make mistakes (like in Desperate). One of the most interesting songs, The Bride, urges us to not give up on the church because she is Christ’s bride. I like the message of this album because it reminds us that living a life for the Lord is difficult, and we have to make sacrifices..we have to rebel ;). I think alot of Christians take the safe route because they (myself included) are afraid of sinning, we don’t want to fail. Living for the Lord therefore gets a safe, boring and clean reputation, when really and truly it is anything but that. It involves taking risks, heart break, and discipline.
My other favorite songs of the album are Don’t Waste Your Life, Identity, and Live Free.
Don’t Waste Your Life, is about living your entire life for the Lord. A theme throughout many of Lecrae’s songs on this and prior albums is pointing out our culture glorifies money and its many friends, but that money doesn’t satisfy our deepest longings. This song does this as well, and puts it in context of the rebel theme. Don’t Waste Your Life challenges us to not just give a portion of our lives to the Lord, but everything. The lyrics are profound to me because of the whole Wall Street mess this year and because I recently moved to a new area, my husband recently got a better job and we are looking to get a house, kids a a dog soon. Here is the last verse:
So yeah, still (something) Christ
trying to figure out what to do with your life
you make alot of money hoping you’re doing it right
because the money is god, you better stick with it right
you ain’t got no ride, your life ain’t rapped up in what you drive
the clothes you wear, the job you work, the color your sin,
naw you Christian first
people think they’re living for their jobs,
get a little money, they start living for their car
get ’em a wife, a house, kids and a dog,
then they retire, living high, going whole
yes but they never lived at all
to live is Christ and that’s Paul I recall
to die is gain so to Christ we give it all
getting a treasure we can’t buy in a mall
your money, your singleness, marriage, status your time,
they belong to you to show the world that Christ is divine.
that’s why its Christ in my rhyme
that’s why its Christ all the time
See my whole world is built around him
he’s the life to my lines
I refuse to waste my life
he’s too true to chase that ice
here’s my gift of time
cause I’m constantly trying to be used to praise the Christ
If he’s truly raised to life,
then this news should change your life
then by his grace you should put your faith in a place that rules your days and nights
Identity shuns materialism (status, looks, makeup, cars etc.), as something to give us our identity. Lecrae raps that our identity is found in Christ instead. Guest Da Truth, gives the music a bit of his flavor. Its more gospel sounding than the rest of the album.
Live Free, starts out with a computerized voice which is sort of funny but I like it. there are variety of musical styles included, rapping and singing, and two guests Sho Baraka and Jai. Its about how as Christians we are free from sin and don’t have to fall into our old traps. The first half of the song Lecrae raps about different people who are Christians yet they are still don’t allow the Lord to rule their lives. The second part of the song (at about 3:00) is more powerful to me. A female voice continues with the chorus and adds some victorious melodies. The background music, in a minor key, blends with her voice. It sounds happy and sad at the same time, perhaps laced with regret and tired from the fight, but relieved to be free in the present. Over her singing, a male rapper adds with his tough voice that he now lives “free by his mercy and grade, tell the world I’m gone. Live free by his patience and peace, tell the flesh I’m gone. Live free by his joy and love, tell the lust I’m gone. Live free by his truth and his justice, tell the hate I’m gone.”
Rebel is a powerful album with 4-6 excellent songs, but there are 15 in all! Not all of them are as fabulous as the 4 I highligted, so for this I give it a 4 for quality.