Today in Hip Hop History: September 9, 2014
Independent Christian hip hop artist Lecrae released his 7th studio album, Anomaly, through Reach Records in 2014. Anomaly follows up Lecrae’s 2013 mixtape Church Clothes 2 and his 2012 studio album Gravity, which won both the Best Gospel Album at the 2013 Grammy Awards and Best Rap/Hip Hop Album at the 2013 Dove Awards. Production on Anomaly features several different artists, including 808xElite, Alex Medina, Andy Mineo, Jaquebeatz, Street Symphony and Dirty Rice, among others. It features guest appearances from Andy Mineo, Crystal Nicole, Kari Jobe and For King & Country.
Originally, Lecrae expressed interest in collaborating with the likes of Kendrick Lamar, Elle Varner, Kanye West and Nipsey Hu$$le, but decided against it on Anomaly. He felt that this album should be a conception of himself completely, with minimal features and outside verses. Lecrae described his album as such, “conceptually, it’s about how I deviate from the norm just being a product of Hip-Hop, but yet staying true to who I am and what I’m about, even though the culture is going its own route. It’s saying ‘Man, I don’t care. I’ll be different.’”
The album was met with warm critical reception. Anomaly was praised for its storytelling, awareness, intelligence and overall lyricism. It displayed the “underdog” story of Lecrae and his journey to personal salvation. His song “Messengers” won Best Contemporary Christian Music Performance/Song at the 2015 Grammy Awards and “All I Need Is You” was nominated for Best Rap Performance. Anomaly debuted at #1 on the Billboard 200, earning Lecrae his first #1 album on that chart. It was also the first album by any artist to top both the Billboard 200 and the Gospel Albums chart.