Note: This review is part of the 2016 Summer Reading Diversity Spotlight.
Unashamed by Lecrae
Release Date: May 3, 2016
Publisher: B&H Books
Genre: Biography, Christian
Source: Received From Publisher
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Two-time Grammy winning rap artist, Lecrae, learned this lesson through more than his share of adversity—childhood abuse, drugs and alcoholism, a stint in rehab, an abortion, and an unsuccessful suicide attempt.
Along the way, Lecrae attained an unwavering faith in Jesus and began looking to God for affirmation. Now as a chart-topping industry anomaly, he has learned to ignore the haters and make peace with his craft. The rap artist holds nothing back as he divulges the most sensitive details of his life, answers his critics, shares intimate handwritten journal entries, and powerfully models how to be a Christian in a secular age.
This is the story of one man’s journey to faith and freedom.
I can’t say that I’ve listened to Lecrae’s music (yet) but I do know that he has a huge following and I know enough people thatare fans of his so when the opportunity came to read his biography, I was on board to get to know the man that so many others already were on board with.
Well. This biography certainly makes a mark in its introduction, as Lecrae details what it means to be a rapper and a Christian in an industry where the mainstream industry/audience doesn’t want to be preached at and the Christian audience doesn’t want to be rapped at. A very interesting position to be in, indeed. Oh, the walls we put up for other people.
With society making it easy to dismiss Christians because Christianity is the major religion of the United States, we often forget that the community is filled with individual people and there is, unfortunately hurt and division and judgement both outside of and within the Christian community. So you don’t have to be part of any particular faith to be able to relate to being an outcast or relate to any of the things that Lecrae details in his biography. And he details a lot of things.
It’s interesting being in the majority, where everyone assumes they know everything there is to know about you and sidelines you or assumes you think you know and are judging everything about them and are sidelining them. There are pros and cons to every side so it’s refreshing to read someone in the majority be transparent about not just the pros but the cons as well, with a knowing attitude that this is just the way it is but with the grace of God, there can be and is peace in all of this.
In all this, know that every page isn’t about Jesus. In fact, there was quite a long time before Lecrae started his walk with Christ and even when he did begin that walk, it wasn’t all sunshine and roses. Lecrae takes us through his childhood which was filled with love but also abuse, addiction, and instability. He takes us through high school and college which saw him learning and accepting who Christ was and at the same time, getting his girlfriend to have an abortion and Lecrae checking into a rehab after a different incident shortly after. He’s open about searching for truth in various religions before coming to his faith in God and how his understanding in and relationship with God grew over time.
One thing that I related to early on was him talking about moving and seeing systematic racism at play, having a huge culture shock. I loved that he covered so many dynamics, being someone who is in one way, part of the majority and in another, part of the minority, and another smack dab in the middle (which, for example, if you’re a middle child, needs no explanation ha ha). There’s a lot touched on in this book and there’s plenty to take away from it, something significant and different I’m sure for each reader.
My only criticisms are that at times, I wasn’t a fan of the writing style and at times, the writing was jumpy and certain important details in the beginning seemed to be glossed over or altogether skipped. The pacing could have been slowed down a beat or two. Aside from this, I’d say this is a great day read and I’m so glad that I have a better understanding of the rapper that everyone around me seems to love. I can’t wait to check out his music! (Better late than never!)
Unashamed by Lecrae is available today.