Back in November Reach Records came under fire for removing the original “116” statement from their website’s bio and replacing it with one that was deemed “more safe.” However, in a recent interview with HHDX, the label’s co-founder Lecrae, addressed the mission statement for the first time.

The emcee said the change is based on the growing artistry of the talent on the label. Reach Records wants their artists to be able to grow and go further with their craft. He said 116 became a self-righteous movement “repping more like a gang than from a humble place,” he said.

The new vision of Reach records is to continue to promote the gospel of course, but use the label as more of a platform to serve the artist than this “gang.”

“Every artist is so unique and Reach has to kinda play the background a little bit and say, man, we wanna just serve you all,” he told HHDX. “We don’t wanna have an agenda that is superseding your heartbeat and what you’re about. We wanna support you. So obviously, we wanna change the way people see the world and support these artists. Some artists wanna be very explicit about what they believe. Some artists wanna just make music obviously not anything that contrasts or contradicts what they believe, but it may not be as explicit in terms of that.”

He continued, “So what Reach wants to is just say hey y’all, we’re here to serve and facilitate you guys making the best music you can possibly make. Our mission is still the same. Our heartbeat is still the same, but at the same time, we don’t wanna hinder the uniqueness of every artist that’s coming out the label.”

The 116 mission statement came from Romans 1:16 which reads, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile.”

Lecrae says now Reach Records takes the “unashamed” part of that verse and applies it to a wider sense of applicable humanity. “Now, it’s ‘I’m unashamed to admit I’m messed up. I’m unashamed of the power within me. Now, it’s a statement of freedom. Guilt has told me I made a mistake. Shame has told me I am a mistake. Grace says I’ve been forgiven.”

Lecrae is at the forefront of expanding the “reach” of Reach Records, as he has had a number of high-profile guest spots on his albums. Most recently he featured E-40 on Church Clothes 3 and said the legendary emcee gave him a feature on his new project as well.

The Anomaly rapper was also nominated for the Grammy’s for this very record alongside the likes of Drake, Childish Gambino, Eminem, and his personal friend Kendrick Lamar. While he didn’t win that top award, he did take home the Best Contemporary Christian Music Performance/Song for the track “Messengers” featuring for King & Country.

“On one hand, Elvis’ Grammys are all in Gospel, so I’m in good company,” said Lecrae. “but at the same time, I think I want people to appreciate my music just as art.”

He clarified further by saying, “What I feel like in terms of my music is I want people to wrestle with the complexity of it and the beauty of the complexity and not just kinda write it off like ‘I get what it is. It’s just rap.’ Or ‘It’s Christian.’ Or ‘It’s indie.’ Whatever. I want you to like, no, it’s it’s own thing.”

Along with the accolades has come a number one album and the chance to lend his skills to the BET Cypher as he continues to be the frontman of blurring the lines of Christian hip-hop into the mainstream.

Read the full Hip-Hop DX interview here

Read more about the change here