Lecrae’s been in the news quite a bit lately, both for his strong stance in the face of the Black Lives Matter protests and for having to deal with the fallout of Louie Giglio’s disastrous ad-lib on the theology of white privilege. The one thing he hasn’t been in the news for is Restoration — his highly anticipated upcoming album that was suddenly and mysterious shelved just ahead of its intended release date.
We don’t exactly know when Restoration will drop yet but we are getting a peek behind the curtain about Lecrae’s last few years in the music industry. In 2016, Lecrae signed a major deal with Columbia Records, announcing that all his albums would continue to be released in a partnership with his longtime friends at Reach Records. He released All Things Work Together and his Let the Trap Say Amen collab while working in this partnership and then, abruptly, announced that he was leaving Columbia earlier this year.
Now he’s released a video saying why he left, explaining some of the frustration with the size of the Columbia machine and how much he missed the creative freedom and agility that comes with being on an independent label. “We liked the fluidity to do what we wanted to do when we wanted to do it,” Lecrae says, using his most recent single “Deep End” as an example of a song that came together in 48 hours — something he says he wouldn’t have been able to do under his Columbia contract.
Lecrae encourages young artists to be careful about signing to major labels, saying labels are like “banks” that can provide financial and relational resources. “God had a vision and a mission for me and it didn’t include me being at Columbia Records,” he says. “That was a season and a time period and then I had to move on.”
Side note: Lecrae’s shirt says January 5th, 1911 — the date ten Black student at Indiana University formed what would be known as Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity — one of the famed Divine 9 Black fraternities and sororities that can count among its members Los Angeles Mayor Thomas Bradley, tennis star Arthur Ashe and Colin Kaepernick.