ENGLAND (Christian Examiner) -- Grammy award-winning Christian rapper Lecrae told more than 20,000 people at the 2015 Big Church Day Out event last weekend that he left behind a life of drugs and drunkenness when he committed himself to Christ.
Following his performance at the two-day United Kingdom event, the artist gave an onstage interview with Steve Rhoads, vice president of Billy Graham Evangelistic Association's My Hope focus.
During the informal Q & A session, Lecrae told attendees that at age 19 when his friends asked if he would give up everything for his faith, he simply replied,"No, I'm giving up some things in order to gain everything."
Now at age 35, the songwriter continues to demonstrate the depths of his faith commitment. By sharing his personal testimony of deliverance through the My Hope with Billy Graham, film people around the world have chosen to follow Christ.
In addition to his heavenly treasures, Lecrea has amassed a few trophies this side of the Kingdom as well. In 2013, he won Grammy's for both Best Gospel Album and Best Rap/Hip Hop Album. He has also been featured in high-profile publications such as Rolling Stone Magazine and The New York Times.
This year, his seventh album, Anomaly, debuted at number one on the Billboard 200 in September. The album also made history as the first album to hold a number one spot in the Gospel Album awards and Billboard's top 200.
"It's been a phenomenal year," Lecrae said of his recent success. "Obviously, [with Anomaly] being the No. 1 album in the country, that was a big deal and it opened a lot of doors for a lot of different conversations and a lot of people came asking questions. People wanted to know what was going on because of that. It was just a great tool, and I'm honored."
Yet while the accolades are significant, the people he inspires matter even more. In a statement on his website the rapper explained: "A mentor told me years ago, 'Lecrae you're not in the widget and gidget business, you're in the people business.'" That mentality is a central focus of his ministry.
Ultimately, Lecrae said his ministry exists to care for others.
"We've always looked at it as if we're not trying to sell CDs, we're trying to take care of people - Give them messages of hope and inspiration," he said.
Still, that task is not without a price.
Explaining hill-top and valley experiences of of his accomplishments to the crowd, Lecrae noted that sometimes criticism accompanies success. "I find a lot of comfort in following him amidst the lows, and the highs as well."
Thought it is difficult to hear the criticisms, it is all part of his story, Lecrae suggested.
"I've learned that leaders will be criticized. If you're going to call shots, you're going to take shots. For every 100 people you influence, there are 10 critics who are there. Jesus was one of the most criticized people; criticized to the point where they killed Him."