Disclaimer: All views presented in this review are those of the reviewer and not of DJ Wade-O.
It’s hard to find something to say about Lecrae that hasn’t already been said. For the past 13 years he has been the talk of CHH. Everything he does, says or doesn’t say is scrutinized and talked about extensively. There is no doubt that he is not only the most successful artist in CHH history, but he is also the most polarizing. No matter what is said about him, Lecrae has consistently put out quality music. Only a few active artists in CHH match his longevity and none of them have maintained his level of quality. Lecrae is one of a handful of artists that captures fans attention when he drops a record.
On September 22nd he got all of us to pay attention again when he dropped his latest project All Things Work Together. This record marks the 11th project (not including compilations) for Lecrae. It is truly incredible that he has stayed relevant throughout this run and he still has plenty to say. Regardless of how you feel about Lecrae, his music or his success, the one thing you can’t take away from him is his ability to adapt. Over his 13-year career, Lecrae has consistently changed and adapted with the times. Lecrae is never the same album to album. His versatility is his best trait as an artist.
Almost every time I talk about Lecrae, I talk about his versatility. It truly is something that should be marveled at. It is incredible how he can transition between sounds and flows like he does. All Things Work Together is more of that great versatility. There aren’t too many songs that sound like one another throughout the whole record. It’s not just subtle changes either; there are some stark differences throughout the record. “Broke” hits so incredibly hard and feels like a classic Reach banger. That transitions into the softer and smoother “Blessings” featuring Ty Dolla $ign. Then towards the end of the record, there is the almost ballad like “Cry for You” featuring Taylor Hill and the CCM feeling “I’ll Find You” featuring Tori Kelly. No matter the mood you are in, Lecrae has something for you.
All Things Work Together doesn’t just have diversity in sound, but Lecrae has found the perfect middle ground between this newer brand of hip-hop and the more traditional. “Whatchu Mean” featuring Aha Gazelle is bound to ruffle the feathers of long time hip-hop fans because it sounds like something right off the radio. This is also the same song that will get relentless play in youth groups. This is the sound that the next generation is in to. He also has tracks for the fans that still love hard bars. “Facts” will go down as one of the better songs of the year in part to lyricism. “Come and Get Me” is another song that is for the fans of good lyricism. It’s hard to provide fans with both skillful rapping and songs to just vibe to, but Lecrae did it masterfully.
The versatility theme continues into the content on All Things Work Together. There are incredibly wide ranges of topics covered on this record. One of the more criticized part of Lecrae’s career has always been his content. It has always seemed to get picked apart. That hasn’t appeared to deter him at all. Ranging from social issues to suicidal thoughts; Lecrae hits an array of topics.
He has been open on his previous records but on this one, he was the most open to date. “Broke” covers how his childhood helped form him as a man. On “Always Knew” he talks about some of the struggles he’s had recently. “Wish You the Best” featuring Verse Simmonds is easily the most controversial song on the album. Here he talks about his ex. The regret, compassion and love that he speaks with can be hard to swallow for some, but it works for me. It’s a sweet song that is very cathartic for anyone that can relate. More importantly, it’s cathartic for him and that comes across here. Lecrae is incredibly open on this album. As fans, we see sides of him we haven’t seen before. That alone makes this album great; listeners can connect with it.
All Things Work Together is authentically Lecrae. It is every thing that has already been said in this review and it’s everything Lecrae has been throughout his career. It’s thoughtful, introspective, wonderfully diverse and nearly impossible to stop listening to. It hits hard at times and at other times it makes you think. There is also a strong theological element to this record that is truly reflective of who Lecrae is now. It’s not “Rebel” Lecrae but there is no doubt that he believes and who the answer to life’s ill’s are. In all of Lecrae’s discography All Things Work Together is the best representation of him, and it’s beautiful.