On Monday, Sept. 11, Harding will host its first Christian rapper, Lecrae, in the Benson Auditorium at 8 p.m. in one of this year’s concerts hosted by the Campus Activities Board (CAB).
Lecrae will be making a stop in Searcy on the front-end of his All Things Work Together Tour this fall. Lecrae is a two-time Grammy Award winning artist under the Christian rap genre. In recent years, Harding has brought indie-rock artists such as Needtobreathe, or pop artists such as Andy Grammer, but never a rap artist, according to senior Presley Nixon, CAB co-director.
Logan Light, director of Campus Life, said getting a popular atrist depends on when they are on tour or if they have recently released an album.
“We benefit most from what we call routed tours,” Light said. “Usually a band, while they’re on tour, are going to play in Dallas, Memphis, or Nashville. If we can get in early enough on that tour, we can be a stopping place between one of those two.”
According to Christian Today, Lecrae signed with Columbia records in May 2016, the same label as popular artists like Beyoncé and One Direction. Lecrae works with many big artists even outside of the Christian music genre. He has collaborated with artists such as Tori Kelly and Ty$. Lecrae’s music got more popular, many of his fans were worried that his music would turn secular, according to Christian Today.
“I think it’s a very respectable thing that he did, signing onto this huge record label and facing that kind of challenge,” Nixon said.
However, not many fans saw his decision that way and thought that Lecrae signing with a secular label was a sign that his music would evolve into a secular genre, according to Christian Today.
“We can still make good, clean music that doesn’t have to be preachy,” Light said. “I think Lecrae has always pushed back on that label as a Christian rapper. It’s interesting that he got so much backlash because I don’t think that he has changed much. His music has evolved as any artists had. I think the backlash is a little silly.”
Senior Keslee Dunavin, CAB co-director, said hosting Lecrae supports the mission of Harding.
“Harding’s focus is to glorify God, and Lecrae does that with his music,” Dunavin said. “I think that him coming is a good opportunity for everyone who wants to go and glorify God in a concert setting.”
Tickets went on sale Friday, Aug. 25, for students with CAB passes for $5. Tickets are now on sale for all other Harding students for $10.