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US star Lecrae hits SA with holy hip-hop

2011-11-22 13:23
Cape Town - The Unashamed African Tour of the American hip-hop star Lecrae and the 116 Clique will hit Cape Town and Johannesburg this weekend after the collective performed in Kenya, Malawi, Zambia, Botswana and Zimbabwe earlier this month.

The Grammy-nominated Lecrae shares the stage with his fellow rappers of the 116 Clique: Trip Lee, Tedashii, Pro, KB en Andy Mineo. The group brings their spiritual hip-hop to South Africa with razor-sharp rhymes that contain no sexism, materialism or swearing.

They look and sound like other hip-hop stars but that is where the similarity ends. Their inspiration and message can be summarised in two words: Jesus Christ.


When his most successful album to date, Rehab, reached the Billboard Top 20 last year, Lecrae achieved mainstream pop success with hip-hop rooted in Biblical beliefs.

Lecrae uses slang and metaphors off the streets to articulate his faith. The lyrics of his single Overdose compare his love for God to drug addiction: "Truth up in my veins, everyday I need it..."

On the track Indwelling Sin off his 2008 album, Rebel, there is a sexy female voice that tries to lure him: "Hey player, you wanna have some fun?’ Lecrae says no-thanks. Immediately thereafter a dope fiend tempts him with first-grade marijuana: does he want to smoke some? Again Lecrae says no-thanks. Holiness is what he strives for. He finds his euphoria in God.

Trip Lee's latest album, Between Two Worlds, has a track called Covenant Eyes which is about looking the other way when a sexually attractive woman enters his gaze: "I don’t want your goodies baby; you can keep your cookies lady; I know they got M&M's but this road I’m on is slim and shady... I belong to my God and I can’t let no lust steal me".

The Arrows join in

Lecrae, Trip Lee and the 116 Clique create hip-hop of which the production quality equals that of mainstream stars like Jay-Z and Lil Wayne. But unlike the latter two rappers, they do not propagate self-glorification, arrogance and material riches. On the track Identity Lecrae declares: "Identity is found in the God we trust; any other identity will self-destruct."

The special guest artists at the Cape Town Unashamed concert are the SAMA-nominated The Arrows, a female pop duo from Durban. The group consists of Pam de Menezes (vocals and keyboards) and Christie Desfontaine (drums). They released their debut album, Make Believe, in 2009.

The Arrows have wowed audiences internationally and have recorded music in the US with Tim Heintz handling production. He has also produced for Shakatak and Aretha Franklin. The Arrows' song In the words (of Satan) has generated much debate. Like Lecrae and Trip Lee, they too are popular on YouTube.

The Cape Town Unashamed concert is on 25 November at the His People Centre at N1 City and tickets are R60 at Computicket. The Johannesburg concert – minus The Arrows – is on 26 November at the Rhema Bible Church in Randburg and tickets are R120 and available from Songezo (074 102 7088).
Read more on:    cape town  |  johannesburg  |  concerts  |  celebrities  |  music

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