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Intelligent Design in Hip-Hop Star Lecrae’s Music


For those ENV readers who care to know, my work playlist is pretty diverse. It includes quite a bit of rock from the early to mid 90s (when I hit adolescence), like Smashing Pumpkins, The Offspring, Nirvana (and then Foo Fighters), G N’ R, Presidents of the United States of America, Beck, and Pearl Jam. My playlist also includes some rap and hip-hop from the likes of Snoop, Dre, Coolio, and others, reflecting my roots growing up in the urban environment, attending large, inner-city public schools. In fact, Snoop Dogg went to my high school, which is right around the corner from VIP Records.

Last month, I added some new playlist material from the hip-hop/rap end of the music spectrum. That was after I discovered a relatively new artist named Lecrae. Time magazine recently published a profile of this rising Christian hip-hop artist:

An evangelical Christian rapper has taken over the iTunes hip-hop/rap chart. Three of the top 10 spots, including slots No. 1 and No. 2, have belonged to Lecrae ever since his new album, Gravity, dropped on September 4.

Many people — Christian believers and others — might roll their eyes at the idea of a “Christian hip-hop/rap” artist. But Lecrae is something different. Whether or not you agree with his message, listen to the music and you’ll quickly find that, as far as talent goes, Lecrae isn’t fronting (that’s “bluffing,” for those who don’t know rap-speak) when he says he’s both “not some church boy trying to do rap music” and “not some rapper trying to cash in, trying to call myself a Christian.”

But let’s be honest. As brilliant as some rap artists are, rap music as a whole doesn’t exactly have a reputation for intellectual depth. But again, Lecrae is something different. In fact, after purchasing one of his older albums, I discovered that one of his songs discusses intelligent design by name, and even mentions irreducible complexity. Here are the relevant lyrics from his song, “It’s Your World“:

He uses intelligent design
Like eloquence confined
Life elements assigned by
Elohim my God
He left his fingerprints
You thinking that our origins are coincidence
Our symmetry alone makes
Evolution look ridiculous
And since our complexity is more than irreducible
The fact our design had a designer is irrefutable
I use science too to make a statement like this
The existence of an atheist proves God exists

Yes, Lecrae’s overall message is unmistakably religious. But as he correctly points out, when he makes an argument for design it’s not a religious argument — as he says, “I use science too to make a statement like this.”

Don’t mistake my meaning. Yes, yes, I know it’s only a pop song. I offer the observation only because it’s nice to see how ID is penetrating the culture at all levels, from celebrity atheist philosopher Thomas Nagel to a hip-hop star like Lecrae.

Image: Reach Records.


Casey Luskin

Associate Director and Senior Fellow, Center for Science and Culture
Casey Luskin is a geologist and an attorney with graduate degrees in science and law, giving him expertise in both the scientific and legal dimensions of the debate over evolution. He earned his PhD in Geology from the University of Johannesburg, and BS and MS degrees in Earth Sciences from the University of California, San Diego, where he studied evolution extensively at both the graduate and undergraduate levels. His law degree is from the University of San Diego, where he focused his studies on First Amendment law, education law, and environmental law.