W.L.A.K, or We Live as Kings, is the collective work of a group of MCs on Christian rap label Collision Records. Solo artists Swoope, Dre Murray, Alex Faith, and Christon Gray all released their own albums on the label before joining forces for the self-titled W.L.A.K. debut in 2013. The album features the artists going through devotional rhyme routines interspersed with Gray's soulfully sung R&B hooks. Production credits include huge beats and inspired instrumentation by Wit, Dirty Rice, Joseph Prielozny, and group member Swoope. Generating much buzz, the anthemic lead single "King in Me" made the rounds on the Internet a few weeks before the release of the album., Rovi
Dropping "I've seen more trials than Cochrane" within the first minute of his 2012 album helps solidify Lecrae's reputation as just about the coolest dude in Christian hip-hop, but Gravity doesn't stop there. This crossover-minded effort follows two conceptual efforts (2010's Rehab and 2011's Rehab: The Overdose) and the rapper sounds rejuvenated by the idea, vamping like Jay-Z before launching into an infectious and alive title track, and ready to confront rappers who front ("You ain't shootin'/Ain't killin', Ain't doin'") on the grinding, Southern-flavored highlight "Fakin'." For fans of mainstream hip-hop, "Mayday" is a must have with underground don Big K.R.I.T. and "American Idol" season ten contestant Ashthon Jones joining Lecrae on this DJ Khalil-produced slice of buttery soul, but stick around for "Confessions" and hip-hop's love of bling is brought down by a difficult yet compelling number where the rapper lays out his Christian-based argument in the unexpected, brittle style of a beatnik poet or Saul Williams on "Def Poetry Jam". Best of all, he makes all these genre experiments and jumps in style sound effortless and natural, all as the Lord's word is reinforced by stories of personal experience, both moving and devastating. No doubt, Gravity is a success, and while Rehab is the more rewarding album in the end, this one is more persuasive and immediate, making it an easy entry point into this gifted artist's discography.
David Jeffries, Rovi