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  • Two Reviews by Arsenio Orteza in WORLD

Rapper's Delight (serves two)


The slam poem that begins Kirk Franklin's Losing My Religion articulates the singer's attempt to go beyond denominational theology and to experience Jesus directly. It's a lot like Scott Wesley Brown's 39-year-old "I'm Not Religious, I Just Love the Lord" that way. The full-ensemble, irrepressibly enthusiastic R&B numbers that follow testify to the abundant fruits of Franklin's attempt. About that ensemble: It includes 22 vocalists, a reminder that one definition of 'religion' is "beliefs held in common by a group." About Franklin's first name: It's Scottish for "church."

It's amazing how much rappers can accomplish when they liberate their vocabularies by forgoing profanity. Including refrains, Lecrae and his featured singers and co-rappers cram over 6,000 words into 36½ minutes, and on Church Clothes every word counts. The theology is sound, the humor is witty, and the history and self-awareness aren't bad either. The Sugarhill Gang is one of the few relevant touchstones that doesn't get a shoutout, but extending and sanctifying the possibilities inherent in "Rapper's Delight" is what Lecrae is all about.

Franklin is a vet; Lecrae's the newbie by comparison -- one who happens to have just signed a contract with a mainstream label. Pray that he lives to match Franklin's track record of integrity.

http://www.worldmag.com/2016/02/notable_cds


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