Lecrae releases surprise mixtape ‘Church Clothes 3’ featuring E-40 and more

After the first year that Lecrae didn’t release a full-length project since 2009, the two-time Grammy Award-winning artist wasted little time in 2016 before he released his first surprise LP and turned his Church Clothes mixtape series into a trilogy.

Church Clothes 3, the highly-anticipated follow-up to his DJ Don Cannon-hosted mixtapes Church Clothes and Church Clothes 2, has dropped without a prior announcement — as the date of 1/16/16 approaches.

Purchase Church Clothes 3 on iTunes.

1. Freedom (feat. N’Dambi) [prod. by S1, co-prod. by Epikh Pro & VohnBeatz]
2. Gangland (feat. Propaganda) [prod. by S1/co-prod. by Shindo]
3. Deja Vu (prod. by S1)
4. Sidelines (prod. by Mykalife and Ryan Righteous)
5. Cruising (prod. by S1/ co-prod. by Epikh)
6. It Is What It Is (prod. by S1/co-prod. by Epikh)
7. Can’t Do You (feat. E-40) [prod. by Black Knight]
8. Forever (prod. by S1)
9. Misconceptions 3 (feat. John Givez, JGivens & Jackie Hill-Perry) [prod. by S1]
10. I Wouldn’t Know (feat. KB) [prod. by GAWVI]

Church Clothes and Church Clothes 2, which Lecrae dropped in 2012 and 2013, have been downloaded over 550,000 and 215,000 times to date on DatPiff.

“Some may argue that those projects changed the face of what is/was known as ‘Christian hip hop,’” Grammy Award-winning producer Street Symphony, who executive produced them, said. “Church Clothes brought validity to Lecrae as a culturally aware artist that could make songs that non-religious and traditional hip-hop lovers could understand and enjoy.”

In addition to Street, the free projects included production by Wit, Tyshane and Dirty Rice, as well as prominent mainstream hip-hop producers Boi-1da, 9th Wonder and Symbolyc One (S1).

S1, a platinum-selling producer whose production credits include Kanye West’s “Power,” Beyoncé’s “Best Thing I Never Had” and Eminem’s “Bad Guy,” executive produced Church Clothes 3. He told Rapzilla in the fall that he had “locked in for two weeks” with Lecrae, who would put out new music “real soon.” S1 had previously produced the songs “Welcome to America” and “The Price of Life” for Lecrae.

The release of Church Clothes 3 comes as Lecrae counts down to the release of his first book, Unashamed, which drops on May 3. As Lecrae counts down between Feb. 9 and April 23, he will perform in 32 cities on The Higher Learning Tour. If readers pre-order Unashamed before March 31 and purchase a ticket to attend a Higher Learning concert, they can choose to attend an exclusive pre-event with Lecrae on the book’s official website.

Even though Lecrae didn’t come out with new music in 2015, it still became a colossal year for him. His seventh studio album, Anomaly, which his label Reach Records released in September 2014, finished 2015 as the 21st highest-selling hip-hop album of the year, according to Billboard.

“In a world where album sales continue to dwindle and majors struggle to find success, Anomaly continues to live up to its name,” industry expert Tim Trudeau, CEO of digital distribution company Syntax Creative, said. “Lecrae’s independent label has done what few majors are able to do — push a single record to endure on yearly charts for back-to-back years.”

For Lecrae’s influence beyond the numbers, Ebony Magazine named him on its Power 100 list of inspiring African-Americans in December. The honor extended the long list of awards Anomaly had won him earlier that year.

Lecrae’s major award wins in 2015:

  1. Grammy – Best Contemporary Christian Music Performance/Song for “Messengers”
  2. Stellar – Rap, Hip-Hop CD of the Year for Anomaly
  3. Billboard Music – Top Christian Album for Anomaly
  4. BET – Best Gospel Artist
  5. Dove – Artist of the Year
  6. Dove – Rap/Hip-Hop Album of the Year for Anomaly
  7. Dove – Rap/Hip-Hop Song of the Year for “All I Need is You”
  8. Soul Train – Best Gospel/Inspirational Song for “All I Need is You”

Lecrae’s next retail album, which B&H Publishing Group said last May would follow the release of Unashamed, has high expectations to meet — as does Church Clothes 3.


Written by David Daniels

David Daniels is a columnist at Rapzilla.com and the managing editor of LegacyDisciple.org. He has been published at Desiring God, The Gospel Coalition, Christianity Today, CCM Magazine, Bleacher Report, The Washington Times and HipHopDX.

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