Lecrae's latest accolade: Artist of the Year

Lecrae
Screen grab from Lecrae Video
NASHVILLE (BP) -- Lecrae, called "one of the leading lights in the gospel-rap movement" by Billboard, was named Artist of the Year at the 46th annual Dove Awards, Oct. 12 in Nashville.

It marks the first time the top award has gone to "a rapper," according to The Tennessean, though the newspaper added a qualification: "rap-pop artist" TobyMac was named Artist of the Year in 2008.

Lecrae also won Dove Awards for Rap/Hip Hop Album of the Year for his 2014 release "Anomaly" and song of the year, "All I Need is You," in the same genre among 40-plus categories.

Other winners included:

-- for King & Country, Contemporary Christian Artist of the Year.

-- Michael W. Smith, Christmas Album of the Year for last year's "The Spirit of Christmas."

-- Gaither Vocal Band, Southern Gospel Artist of the Year.

-- Oak Ridge Boys, Country Song of the Year, "Sweet Jesus" with Merle Haggard.

Lauren Daigle, from Lafayette, La., was named New Artist of the Year while her song "How Can It Be" was named Pop/Contemporary Song of the Year.

A list of this year's Dove winners can be accessed at http://doveawards.com/awards/2015-winners.

Co-hosts for the awards ceremony were Sadie Robertson of the "Duck Dynasty" TV series and author of "Live Original: How the Duck Commander Teen Keeps It Real and Stays True to Her Values," and Erica Campbell, five-time Grammy winner and WEtv star of "Mary Mary." Campbell garnered a Dove Award for Contemporary/Gospel/Urban Song of the Year for "I Luh God."

The Dove Awards telecast will be aired on the Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN) at 10 p.m. Eastern on Sunday, Oct. 18. The ceremony was held in Nashville at Lipscomb University's Allen Arena.

Daniel Woodman, a journalism student at the University of Missouri who served as Baptist Press' 2015 summer intern, noted to BP, "Lecrae is important as an artist because he is the bridge between Christianity and the culture of our youth."

"Through his music he addresses issues that are hard to talk about, from racism to sexual abuse, in a relevant manner that relates to us, the youth in America especially," Woodman said in written comments. "Lecrae's Artist of the Year award not only signifies his musical talent, but his ability to bring Christ to our culture in a way that touches believers and non-believers alike. He is the transcendent artist of our generation." For an article Woodman wrote on Lecrae, click here.

Lecrae, who had a tour date in California, accepted the Artist of the Year honor by video.

The 36-year-old's music has garnered multiple awards, including a Grammy for Best Contemporary Christian Music Performance/Song in February and earlier Dove Awards for rap/hip hop album and song of the year. Anomaly, his seventh album, premiered last year atop the Billboard 200 Album Chart and Gospel Album Chart -- the first-ever to do so in both genres, in addition to topping several other Billboard categories.

A book by Lecrae, titled "Unashamed," is slated for a May 2016 release by the B&H Publishing Group of LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention. According to a LifeWay news report, Lecrae will write of how his Christian faith lifted him from a difficult past that included childhood abuse and struggles with drugs and alcoholism.

"As an artist, my ambition is to make honest music, and I feel the same way about writing this book," Lecrae said. "I want to be honest about where I've come from and what I've learned along the way. I want to influence culture, to help catalyze and inspire, and help other people find understanding. If they find some inspiration and some clarity for their own lives, as they follow my journey, then I will have succeeded."

He was a May 2013 guest on The Exchange (https://vimeo.com/67132216), interviewed by guest host Eric Geiger, Resource Division vice president of Lifeway Christian Resources. The Exchange is a weekly program hosted by Ed Stetzer, executive director of LifeWay Research, now aired on the NRB channel on Direct TV.

Lecrae's testimony at the I am Second website can be viewed at www.iamsecond.com/seconds/lecrae. A video in his own words and nine music videos can be viewed at www.lecrae.com.

Art Toalston is senior editor of Baptist Press, news service of the Southern Baptist Convention.
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