What exactly makes the message The Message? Is it the track that embeds itself behind it or the words themselves? For years now, Lecrae has been seemingly teetering in a musical no man’s land. In a culture where vulgarity meets the message with animosity and impetuous thoughts of uprise, the Houston native of course works in the tapestry of the city’s rap history into his music but on Church Clothes, his nationwide mixtape release with Don Cannon – the middle is met, where the message is not muffled by the idea of being preachy. Instead, it rides shotgun through Third Ward with the top down and the sweet smell of Frenchy’s filling nostrils.

Guitar licked funk from Wit on “Welcome To H-Town” expresses that sentiment heavily. Part history lesson, part optimistic narrative for the future, Lecrae skates over the small interpolation of “Still Pimpin Pens” and it carries over through the tape’s impressive 18-tracks with its wide ranging production and Lecrae’s thoughtful, pensive lyrics. No Malice (the man formerly known as Malice of the Clipse) flexes on the militaristic drum refusing to let a renewed faith make it look like his lyricism fell off on “Darkest Hour”. Interesting subplot here: Lecrae says he hasn’t worn a suit since Jordan was with the Wizards. I’d fear what he’d wear after watching MJ run the Bobcats.

The Jeremy Lin co-sign & BET Cypher appearance might have made Lecrae somewhat of a household name but for a man who refers to himself as “OutKast Meets The Writings Of Moses”, the biggest co-sign he has lies from within. Church Clothes is the Sunday morning recipe turned weekly motivation, amen to that.

DOWNLOAD: Lecrae – Church Clothes (Hosted By Don Cannon)