Lecrae | Gravity | Release: o4 September 'o12

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This album is the album I most looked forward to this year. Lecrae has really come a long way in the last few years and Gravity is, for all intents and purposes, his first major release as a premiere artist. The spotlight is on, let's see how he shines.

Track One: The Drop (Intro)... after the false pretense of a soft violin arrangment, the beat kicks in and Lecrae hits the track in full attack mode... the album is immediately in full swing and the "gravity" of our situation on earth is underscored by the urgency in Lecrae's measured verse... "your words will be eaten, folks will be reading your vomit"... love it... and we settle things down a little bit as... Track Two: Gravity (ft. JR)... kicks in with an ethereal feel and a spoken introduction about how gravity keeps pulling [us] down... thematically, this song echoes the thoughts from Deitrick Haddon's latest album, Church on the Moon... JR's vocal is a real nice touch on the hook... not a perfectly clean sound, but works really well with the song... if there's no such thing as truth, then why should I believe you?... based on the cover art, if Lecrae DID go somewhere with no gravity, he's suffocate because his helmet has a hole in it... that was a nice tune... Track Three: Walk with Me (ft. Novel)... I'm not going to lie, this isn't my first time listening to this album and this is already one of my favorite tracks... it's got a nice plodding beat, which Lecrae navigates with a deftness that is unparalleled... :I wanna walk with Jesus, but my legs [are] too heavy"... his wordplay is at its best on this track and the chorus is just beautifully raw and stripped down... the production is spectacular, on par with Kanye... Track Four: Free from It All (ft. Mathai)... this hook is tattooed on my brain and I will randomly break out with "But should I fall..." and it will take me a second or two to realize where it came from... Mathai was apparently on The Voice but I can't say I recognize her... with that voice, you would think I'd remember... my bad... this song is really hot, too... the second of three really strong tracks in a row... the third being... Track Five: Fallin' Down (ft. Swoope and Trip Lee)... which really reminds me of a Kanye song... not just the production, but everything about it just feels like 'Ye... Monster in particular... if you added about 2 dozen curse words and 3 dozen sexual references, it could easily fit on Ye's latest... topically, the trio tackle the inevitable struggle and loss against gravity... everything in life dies, everything that goes up, falls... it's going down... beautiful track though... Track Six: Fakin' (ft. Thi'sl)... this one embraces a more typical deep south hip hop booty beat and I'm still on board, but the repetition is causing me to tune out more... the album is transitioning from center stage to background music for me at this point... i guess that makes me, i guess that makes me, that make me a fak-urr... maybe... topically, they're talking about embracing their true identity in Christ, which is good... Track Seven: Violence... and now we've transitioned into a reggae vibe, with a sample that says something about violence ("violence should stop" maybe?) repeating in the background and suddenly everyone has a thick accent... still stuck in the background for me, but again, solid message about valuing life and acting more respectful towards others... Track Eight: Mayday (ft. Big K.R.I.T. and Ashthon Jones)... another song, another completely new direction stylistically... this is a laid back track with almost a Roots feel to it with the live drums and (possibly) live instruments... some good hooks and verses, but the album as a whole has almost run off the rails to some extent, losing consistency... maybe, my attention span is just waning...

*** INTERMISSION (maybe it's cheating but i'm falling behind on this typing and i need to go stretch) ***

Track Nine: Confe$$ions... the bulk of the fancy production is stripped away here and all that remains is a light beat with Lecrae quietly popping off lyrics that discuss how money doesn't solve our problems... not sure who's singing the hook here, but it sounds good... it almost sounds like a Deitrick Haddon song with rap verses instead of singing... Track Ten: Buttons... this is a radio-friendly tune with a beat that kind of skips its way through the track... almost as if it has it's own melody... the song talks about how we can wear on each other, push each other's buttons, but we need to stick together and rise above our disagreements in love... particularly in marriage... Ten Eleven: Power Trip (ft. PRo, Sho Baraka, and Andy Mineo)... this seems to be an effort to flip the script of Money, Power, Respect, the late 90s rap song from then Bad Boy group, the LOX (which is apparently a “classic” rap song, according to SongPop)... I like what they’re talking about, but the track feels like it could use a little more energy... oh, well that makes sense, they close the song with voltage sound effects... Track Twelve: Lord Have Mercy (ft. Tedashii)... now we’re back into the thick-beats of the dirty south... we’ve been hinting at them all along, but this one is unabashedly so, with the big ole 808 bass line and a thuggish delivery... nice use of the stereo function which only works if I have both earbuds in... the track begs God for forgiveness for the sins that have shaped our lives... Track Thirteen: I Know... okay, that sample is annoying... I know, I know-oh-oh... a bit more energy to the track... a bit more lighthearted while maintaining a southern feel... despite the high-pitch sample, I do like the way the tempos are essentially warring with each other throughout the track... Track Fourteen: Tell the World (ft. Mali Music)... again, not a high-energy song, but the production seems amped back up a bit and the underlying piano touches play nicely with the drum beats... and all of that fades back into the mix as Lecrae spits with a double-time cadence... this would be a solid single choice, probably the most compelling track on the back half of the record to be honest... Track Fifteen: Lucky Ones (ft. Rudy Currence)... and the album closes out with a really nice track... very slow, melodic, and almost reminiscent of a Mat Kearney tune or something of that nature... barely a hint of instruments or even music in the backdrop, but a nice near a capella delivery... overall, this is a really solid album... my anticipation was extremely high for this and Lecrae delivers nicely...