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JFH Staff Review

Lecrae, Church Clothes, Vol. 3

Church Clothes, Vol. 3

Artist Info: Discography
Genre(s): Rap / Hip Hop
Album length: 10 tracks: 36 minutes, 28 seconds
Street Date: January 15, 2016


2015 was a busy year for arguably the best rapper in the CHH game today and even though he didn't have an actual album release, it was a jammed packed year of album sales and accolades. Lecrae himself would be the first to tell you that it's not about any of those things, but as a fan of hip hop, it is nice to see such a talented man getting his message to so many people in various ways. One such way Lecrae has been via mixtapes and that's what we have in Church Clothes Volume Three.

The first track, "Freedom," gets right to the point and sets the mood for the soberness of CC3. The song speaks vividly on the seriousness of today's slave trade and a music video was released on Martin Luther King Jr. Day to drive home the fact that we can't just turn a blind eye to the horrors that go on in this world. There is a call to remember that freedom isn't free. "Gangland" features Propaganda and is simply a banging track, with Lecrae spitting hard and Prop doing what Prop does best with powerful messages, such as "delusional calling that system criminal justice, where the rich and the guilty are safer than the poor and the innocent." The song's purpose is to enlighten listeners to many of the problems that most Americans don't see. "Misconceptions 3" features John Givez, J Givens, and Jackie Hill Perry, and the four artists collaborate to destroy this track. It carries thumping beats behind each featured artist at their best, and the final product is sure to be a fan favorite. "It Is What It Is" details an in-depth journey through Lecrae's mind as he speaks honestly, "Now I'm on my third tape and I just might drop it on a Thursday" showcasing how Lecrae's focus is on his mission and not what the music industry thinks of him.

"Can't Do You" features E-40, which I'm sure Crae will catch some flak for, but the two collab for a solid track. "Cruising" has a nice and chill vibe, while "I Wouldn't Know" features KB for a solid ending to this superb mixtape. Rap fans will love the hard spitting, superb production and creativity throughout this project, much of which was produced by S1 who has worked with Jay-Z and Kayne West. Lecrae never takes lightly his opportunity to speak, though, and he delivers strong messages to all listeners here. There is so much meat to digest here making this is so much more than just a mixtape. The project is full of solid tunes that won't disappoint fans. There's also a great short film (think partial visual album) flying around the internet that was directed by Nathan Corrona (aka DJ Dust from Mars Ill) which should definitely be checked out. For a side release that was dropped on fans out of nowhere, one can't complain about anything here, even if there are only ten tracks.

- Review date: 1/20/15, written by Kevin Hoskins of

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A Second Opinion

    Talk about starting out the year with a bang. Without warning, Lecrae made up for his lack of new music in 2015 with a mixtape that, from the very first line, lets us know Lecrae will be tackling some heavy topics. In the opener alone, Lecrae mentions sex trafficking, child pornography, the drug culture, obsession with money and tons of other sins people are "slaves" to, and encourages people to change ("Maybe you'll free the slaves, maybe you'll bring a change / The destinations are different but everyone's on the train"). But, by far, the two highlight tracks are "Gangland" and "Misconceptions 3." "Gangland," which tackles the origin and subsequent chaos of gangs in African American communities, is the type of informative, paradigm-shifting track that only a rapper like Propaganda has pulled off in the past in CHH (no surprise then that Prop is featured and absolutely kills his verse). "Misconceptions 3," with Lecrae pairing up with another team of rappers (John Givez, his cousin JGivens, and Jackie Hill Perry) is the most thumping track Lecrae has put out in years, and utterly destroys the myth (through both creative wordplay and logic) of Christian rappers being soft.

I've never really understood the criticisms of Lecrae for his music not being "Christian" enough; I've never been able to listen to a project from Lecrae without the very strong sense of Christ being woven throughout his entire approach. That remains true on Church Clothes 3, but it is, perhaps, the first project where I feel like Lecrae's primary focus (addressing cultural issues, racial issues, and personal criticisms) is something other than sharing the Gospel. But while few, if any, criticisms of Lecrae along these line are truly legitimate, probably this mixtape's biggest detractor is the fact that Lecrae dedicates all or parts of four tracks (out of 10) to either defending himself or saying these criticisms don't matter. Lecrae needs no defense for me, or the vast majority of his listeners, so he shouldn't need to spend almost half of a mixtape doing so, especially when the rest of it is so good.

Church Clothes 3 is just the type of Hip-hop album that I love; informative, thought-provoking, accessible, and fun. While the project is Lecrae's shortest one ever (made all the shorter because of his defense tracks, to the point that Church Clothes 3 almost comes across as an EP), what is good here is about as good as we can expect from him. If you haven't already, definitely check out Lecrae's third set of Church Clothes.
- 1/27/16, Mark Rice of




. Record Label: Reach Records
. Album length: 10 tracks: 36 minutes, 28 seconds
. Street Date: January 15, 2016
. Buy It: iTunes
. Buy It: AmazonMP3

  1. Freedom (feat. N'dambi) (2:51)
  2. Gangland (feat. Propaganda) (3:47)
  3. Deja Vu (4:09)
  4. Sidelines (3:36)
  5. Cruising (3:20)
  6. It Is What It Is (4:05)
  7. Can't Do You (feat. E-40) (3:27)
  8. Forever (3:04)
  9. Misconceptions 3 (feat. John Givez, JGivens, and Jackie Hill Perry) (4:29)
  10. I Wouldn't Know (feat. KB) (3:40)


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