From Addiction to Sobriety, Lecrae Turns Struggle Into Faith – and Gold Albums


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Lecrae wrote his book Unashamed with one simple goal in mind: “I’m hoping my scars will heal other people.” Those scars are substantial: raised by a single mother who’d been abandoned by his drug-addicted father, Lecrae lived a tumultuous youth. At the age of eight, he was molested by a babysitter; his resulting confusion over sexuality led to years of promiscuity, while the rage led him to rebellion, crime, and–eventually–drug and alcohol abuse.

At one point, dealing drugs and flirting with gang membership, Lecrae became convinced his life was headed to a “dead end,” as he puts it. In a bid to change his life’s direction, Lecrae began attending church with his grandmother; he later told Complex that he was shocked to find that the people there were “just people like me.” Realizing that spiritual pursuits didn’t require perfection, Lecrae hung around.

He didn’t change instantly; few addicts do. But he got into rehab, and he started the process of turning his life around. There were certainly bumps along the way; among other things, he and a pregnant girlfriend decided to terminate the pregnancy, which Lecrae now says he “deeply regrets.”

But that’s part of Lecrae’s draw: while most stars go to great lengths to hide their flaws and mistakes, Lecrae puts his scars on full display in the hope that they’ll light someone else’s way. He raps about being molested at age eight and aborting his child; he unashamedly talks about dealing drugs in his youth; he openly discusses clawing his way out of addiction into sobriety.

Now a happily married father, Lecrae’s remarkable honesty is paying dividends; it certainly seems to resonate with an awful lot of people. He’s won two Grammys, sold over two million albums (with another few million mixtape downloads), and is arguably the biggest name in Christian music at the moment.

Recently, he used his newfound cache as an industry mover to pay it forward a bit, tapping Tori Kelly for the duet “I’ll Find You.” The song’s lyrics come directly from Lecrae’s own struggles; the video, which centers around a young family dealing with pediatric cancer, was filmed inside St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital as part of an awareness campaign.

Lecrae’s next challenge: leveraging his considerable platform to move the cultural needle on matters of faith. He wants to make stereotypes “crumble, so we can start having genuine conversations and relate to one another on a human level.”

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