By MELISSA RUGGIERI/AJC Music Scene
HOUSTON – Before he moved to Atlanta in 2009, Lecrae was a born and bred Texan, specifically Houston.
His return home this week has allowed him to see family, visit the old haunts and consume the one style of food he can’t get in authentic form in Atlanta – Tex Mex.
Pausing to chat Thursday afternoon in the lobby of the Marriott Marquis – where a few fans stopped him to share their fandom – the always-gregarious Christian hip-hop star said that despite his roots, he’s an Atlanta Falcons fan.
“No disrespect to the (Houston) Texans, but since I’ve been in Atlanta, the city has won me over,” Lecrae said. “They’re gonna win. We have a great team, a healthy team who wants it, who is hungry. New England is an amazing team, but there’s a hunger that Atlanta has.”
(Check out Lecrae’s prayer for the Falcons in the video below)
The intersection of music and football is frequent in Lecrae’s career. He’s buddies with players on the Dallas Cowboys, as well as former Baltimore Ravens running back Justin Forsett.
On Friday night he’s performing at the 2017 Super Bowl Gospel Celebration at Lakewood Church in Houston, along with Natalie Grant, CeCe Winans and Yolanda Adams. He’s performed at the event during previous Super Bowl weekends and is grateful that so many NFL players groove to his Christian-minded hip-hop.
“I’m not really gospel. I don’t sing. I don’t have gospel chops. But the players want me involved (in the event) because of where my faith is,” he said. “It still always shocks me (to hear from football players). I talked to (Denver Broncos defensive stud) Von Miller the other day and he said he’s a big fan, which always blows my mind.”
Lecrae just dropped a new single, “Blessings,” featuring rapper/singer Ty Dolla Sign, from his forthcoming, still-untitled new album.
The musicians met at SXSW a few years ago and discovered a mutual respect for each other’s work. Once they nailed down the timing, they hit the studio with Atlanta producer A+ and members of Mike Will Made It’s EarDrummers squad to cut the record.
The sound is a bit of a departure for Lecrae, who said the upcoming album will be an amalgamation of styles.
“Some of it is just me absorbing the sauce of the city and feeling a lot more free to create the music of who I am,” he said. “But I want to stay relevant to the culture and I feel this record did that.”
But OK, back to the reason we’re all in Houston – that big game on Sunday.
Lecrae will be there, in the stands with the fans and his wife, Darragh Moore, who is apparently the most rabid Falcons fan in the household.
“She brought so much Atlanta gear,” Lecrae said with a laugh, nodding toward his wife sitting on a nearby couch. “I’m like, you can’t wear ALL of this! I’m trying to figure out when she’s going to start unveiling it. She’s really, really passionate about (the team). She’ll cry if something doesn’t work out!”
And for his parting message to the Falcons, Lecrae had some inspirational words.
“Go out there and kill it, fellas. It’s not by chance, it’s not by luck, it’s by sheer talent…bring home that ring!”