Get to know the Christian rapper Lecrae before he performs at 7 p.m. Sunday, April 17, in Renaissance Coliseum.
Q: What is the purpose behind your “Higher Learning Tour?”
A: The purpose behind the tour is really to address campuses and colleges and teach them not about making a living, but making a life. I want to address life issues and encourage college students. I think they are the future; they are the people who can go out there and really change the culture, so if I can inspire any of them, then it’s an honor.
Q: How do you think college students can relate to your music?
A: One: it’s fun. There’s an element of fun where you can forget about finals and exams for a second, so it’s just being able to have a good time. Two: I think a lot about music is catalytic. It motivates, it inspires, it pushes people toward something — to be more [and] to do more — and it’s very rooted in it’s identity, and I think college students are kind of finding themselves in this world, and it’s a helpful voice in the middle of it all.
Q: How have college students been reacting to the tour so far?
A: It’s been crazy. It’s been night after night of just pandemonium — people going crazy having a good time — and then also a lot of people have been following up on social media saying, “Thank you so much for what you said about this or telling your story.” I needed to hear that, so all around it’s been a beautiful experience.
Q: How did you get started with creating music?
I started just as a kid working with my cousins and my uncles, and I got in a studio around 13, and I just kept working at it and kept working at it, and eventually I’m where I’m at now.
Q: What inspires you to write a song?
Most of the time it’s being around people. It’s different culture; it’s different places. So, when I travel, I get inspired. The more I experience different things, unique things, the more inspiring usually it becomes.
Q: What musicians have influenced you as an artist?
A: A lot of the GOTS — the greatest of all times — so, the Bonos, the Michael Jacksons, the Stevie Wonders, Prince, Tupac [and] Jay Z. Those are the guys who inspire me to be who I am as an artist. Also, definitely Bob Marley, he’s my biggest [inspiration].
Q: What are your plans for the future in regards to your music?
A: I really just hope to continue making [music] for as long as people will appreciate it [and] just be a light in a dark world.
Q: What kind of advice do you have for students unsure of their careers?
A: I think a lot of [career searching has] to do with who knows you well. The people who knew you growing up — what do they think you’re good at? What do they think that you’ve always excelled at? — And figuring out what kind of career paths line up with that. A lot of times, we’ll choose careers based on what’s going to make us the most amount of money verses what we’re going to be excited to do and what we’re good at, and I think if you love to do something and you’re good at it, it’ll pay for itself in the long run.
Q: Tell me about your upcoming book “Ashamed” and the kind of message students would be able to take away when reading it.
A: Unashamed is about my life’s journey … whenever you look at somebody’s life, there’s always a message you can take. You can look at their mistakes; you can look at their successes; you can look at how they got there … I would say that there is a lot of vulnerability, a lot of acknowledging some of the demons and the skeletons that have plagued me, but I’m free, and hopefully other people can be liberated by reading the book as well.