My initial (and only) introduction to Lecrae and his hip-hop was through my teenage nephew who once performed his "Background" for a school talent show---does this make me officially "middle-aged"? I knew absolutely nothing of the man or his music besides what I got from that song, but having now listened to this autobiographical audio book from www.christianaudio.com, I can tell that the lyrics to that song offer a pretty solid foundation for how the grown-up Lecrae hopes to live.The book describes the hardships Lecrae faced and the trouble he got into, growing up in a broken home with gang-banging relatives, a sexually abusive babysitter, and a penchant for trouble-making. His story's a hard one to hear, especially the parts where---post-conversion to Christ Jesus---the pendulum swung into the direction of near-militant self-righteousness. Lecrae's and my stories do not match, that's clear, and yet I could still sense a kinship with him during those times of posing, of trying to please others, of thinking that his efforts would make him more acceptable to others and to God. I think we all can. The growth that he describes from childhood, through adolescence, to college, fame, and beyond is real and raw. It's hard to read, yet as I reader, I just couldn't put it down! Where was he going with it all? How would he ever make peace with the world? With God?Apparently, in recent years, Lecrae has made a surprising turn away from so-called "Christian rap" (something he says doesn't exist, since a music style can't repent of its sins and be saved; instead it's the musician himself who is either Christian or non-). His Christian fans haven't appreciated the fact that he made the switch to "secular" music, supposing he was a sell-out, in it for the money, stepping into the limelight he had once relinquished to Christ (for every fan he lost, he notes, he actually gained ten more).At its core, this book comes as a "Hold on!" for the critics, an explanation to the Christian world why he now identifies himself not as a "Christian hip-hop artist" but as a "hip-hop artist who happens to be a Christian." From his point of view, he's chosen to enter the world of darkness and blandness (the world of secular hip-hop music, specifically that streaming from Atlanta, GA) to become the salt and light Jesus wants him to be. He's not one to speak Christianese, because that's not his background; he grew up with hip-hop as his only solace, and that's the same crowd of people he's hoping to reach. He's not here to make Christians feel good about their faith: he's here to make the world realize that a biblical worldview isn't as crazy as it sounds.I like that about him.Specifically, his final chapter is a manifesto that every Christian artist---whether in music, literature, painting, speaking, kindergarten crafts, or whatever---should read. I liken it to Francis Shaeffer's Art and the Bible. In it he describes how Christian art isn't meant to share the Gospel at every turn and with every breath, but rather is meant to point others toward God, His Word, His Son, or His worldview. This can be done in many (obviously creative) ways, and the Christian artist needs to embrace it. The world will listen to you, and you needn't couch your message either in blatant sermons or in blasphemies, dirt, and sin. Just share your outlook, your world, your view with them in a way they can understand…and they will listen. The Apostle Paul did it in Athens, Lecrae is doing it in Atlanta, and you can do it too, wherever you are.I've already recommended this book to my sister and nephew, and I'll do the same here. It's worth the read, even if hip-hop isn't your world. I'm not going to buy the next Lecrae album (or any of his old ones), but it's comforting to know that the light is brightening a corner I'll never personally be.©2019 E.T.