Ranking the Best Lecrae Albums

God moves mysteriously.

Last month, I told the story of  Soul In Stereo Cypher member and family friend Alison Moore, who earlier this year collaborated with me on a Head to Head article on Outkast.

We tragically lost Alison in September of this year, weeks before we were album to finish our next Head to Head project, this time on her favorite artist Lecrae. Props to Nicolette Carney for volunteering to step in and help complete that post in Alison’s honor.

Of course, to properly complete a post as comprehensive as Head to Head, that meant I had to dive through Lecrae’s entire discography – and MAN he’s got a lot of albums. Thankfully, almost all of them are excellent. Also, his themes uplifting themes of faith are the perfect medicine for the constant hardships of 2020.

The term “gospel rap” seems antiquated at best and demeaning at worst these days, so Lecrae wisely doesn’t stick to labels. He’s simply a rapper who isn’t afraid to speak about his faith. And, quite frankly, his albums – most of which were new to me – have been quite comforting in our loss of Alison and in grappling with the endless chaos this calendar year has brought.

Despite those heavy losses, I appreciate Lecrae for bringing insight into our lives. It took tragedy for me to finally dive deep into his impressive catalog.

Since they’re all fresh on my mind, let’s revisit Lecrae’s entire discography, ranking all his LPs from bottom to top. I’ll be excluding his Church Clothes mixtapes because this list is long enough as it is, playa. All three editions are quite good though, check them out. As always, quality, impact, consistency and legacy all factor into these rankings.

And, just like our Head to Head, this one is also dedicated to Alison’s memory.

10. Real Talk (2004)

Soul In Stereo rating: 3.5 stars out of 5

Edd said: Ever go back and listen to early albums of guys like Rick Ross and TI and say to yourself, “man, they don’t even sound like this anymore!” That’s the feeling I got from hearing Real Talk for the first time. While far from a bad album, Lecrae just hadn’t found his voice yet. It’s a decent release from his formative years that showed a lot of potential – potential he’d capitalize on down the road.

Forgotten favorites: “Aliens,” “Take Me As I Am,” “The Line”

9. Rehab (2010)

Soul In Stereo rating: 3.5 stars out of 5

Edd said: You can tell that Lecrae attempted to switch things up on Rehab a bit, and I’m not mad at that – change is good. However, his attempts to diversity his sound here are met with mixed results. The bars are as meaningful as ever but the production’s a bit all over the place. There are noteworthy tracks to be found, as always, but it’s a bit of a mixed bag.

Forgotten favorites: “Divine Intervention,” “Gotta Know,” “New Shalom”

8. Let the Trap Say Amen (2018)

Soul In Stereo rating: 3.5 stars out of 5

Edd said: The last time Zaytoven did a joint project with an artist I liked, we got A from Usher and it was, well, y’all read my review and cussed me out already. Unlike A, which was ALL style and zero substance, Lecrae doesn’t skimp on the artistry. That said, the beats do tend to overwhelm things at times.

Forgotten favorites: “Preach,” “2 Sides of the Game,” “Only God Can Judge Me”

7. Rebel (2008)

Soul In Stereo rating: 4 stars out of 5

Edd said: In my Head To Head with Nicolette, I named this as Lecrae’s most underrated work, mainly because it doesn’t seem to get the buzz of his other high-profile projects. It’s a big step up from his debut, speaking more to the social issues that would define his later hits. This is the project where he began to find himself as an artist.

Forgotten favorites: “Don’t Waste Your Life,” “Indwelling Sin,” “Truth”

6. After the Music Stops (2006)

Soul In Stereo rating: 4 stars out of 5

Edd said: After a decent but unspectacular debut, Lecrae’s sophomore album proved that the homie was able to quickly find his footing. Much more consistent and not as preachy as the original, After the Music Stops sees Lecrae speaking more on social issues that would define his later works. That course correction is what truly took him to the next level.

Forgotten favorites: “After the Music Stops,” “Invisible,” “Nobody”

5. Rehab: The Overdose (2011)

Soul In Stereo rating: 4 stars out of 5

Edd said: If you haven’t been able to tell yet, the thing I respect most about Lecrae – well, along with unapologetically walking in his faith – is that he’s willing to step up his game with every release. The Overdose was a much-needed improvement over the original Rehab, not only being much more consistent but upgrading his flow as well. Mixing aggression with introspection helped him stand out from his peers and added passion and urgency to his bars.

Forgotten favorites: “Overdose,” “Chase That (Ambition),” “The Good Life”

4. Restoration (2020)

Soul In Stereo rating: 4 stars out of 5

Edd said: Nah, this isn’t a case of recency bias. Lecrae’s 2020 album really is some of his best work to day. Lord knows well all need a little encouragement after this trash bag of a year, and Lecrae provides that in spades. In fact, you might be so busy nodding to the trap beats you could miss his powerful messages about faith and family. It’s one of the gems of his discography and one of the year’s best LPs.

Forgotten favorites: “Wheels Up,” “Only Human,” “Self Discovery”

3. Gravity (2012)

Soul In Stereo rating: 4 stars out of 5

Edd said: Gravity is considered by many to be Lecrae’s best work. Obviously I don’t think so, which is why it’s at No. 3, duh, but that’s not a condemnation of its quality. This one IS great. Like its name implies, Gravity is loaded with heavy themes (the cancer talk hits way harder when you have family members battling the disease, as I do) but it’s more uplifting than depressing. A few songs are a slightly too experimental for their own good but it’s unquestionably a top-tier Lecrae release.

Forgotten favorites: “The Drop,” “Walk with Me,” “Mayday”

2. All Things Work Together (2017)

Soul In Stereo rating: 4 stars out of 5

Edd said: Not only is it one of Lecrae’s best releases, it’s probably the most assessable. I can speak to that personally – this is the first Lecrae project that grabbed my ear, thanks to my wife obsessively playing “Hammer Time” over and over. Listeners who are usually run off by the usual gospel rap clichés have nothing to fear here – the beats are as trendy and hard as anything on mainstream playlists, the hooks are infectious and the themes are poignant but never preachy. This isn’t just “a good gospel rap album,” it’s a great album, period.

Forgotten favorites: “Hammer Time,” “Always Knew,” “8:28”

1. Anomaly (2014)

Soul In Stereo rating: 4 stars out of 5

Edd said: While a case could be made for any of this list’s top three to land at the top spot, Anomaly still reigns as the apex of his work. Anomaly is a bit of a turning point for the gospel rap genre, moving away from heavy-handed churchy themes to speak more about personal journey. It’s that relatable approach that breaks down barriers, making Anomaly a perfect blend of storytelling and modern delivery. Lecrae arguably was at his lyrical peak here as well. I’d label it his most defining work, but he has plenty of time to top it.

Forgotten favorites: “Outside,” “Welcome to America,” “Timepiece”

Which Lecrae album is tops for you? Let us know below.


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