Where Style Meets Substance

Hollywood fashion expert, VIP personal shopper and commentator Joseph "Joe" Katz brings you interviews with celebrities and influencers about their style and personal experiences. He also shares the best beauty & lifestyle tips and tricks to help you look and feel your best.

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Grammy Award Winning Performer Lecrae Shares His Journey From Struggle to Stardom

Grammy Award Winning Performer Lecrae Shares His Journey From Struggle to Stardom

Two-time Grammy Award winning artist Lecrae joins us to discuss how he found inspiration through his religion, and how it influenced his music. We also talk about his new book I Am Restored: How I Lost My Religion but Found My Faith, where he reveals personal stories throughout his life, as well as untold stories he shares with us that he has never discussed before. Also learn who some of his favorite fashion brands are, and his tips for the red carpet. Tune in to hear everything in the world of Lecrae!

Follow Lecrae on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook!

Check out his Restoration Recap on YouTube!

Photo courtesy of Alex Martin

The Katz Walk is a production of Evergreen Podcasts. A special thank you to Executive Producer Gerardo Orlando, Producer Leah Longbrake and Audio Engineer Dave Douglas.

Joe Katz:
Hi, you guys. I am so excited. I have got two time with Grammy award winning artists, Lacrae on the show today. All right. He is talking about his new book, I Am Restored. He's talking about a single that he did with John Legend, his rise to fame, everything that happened in his life from growing up to where he is today. There is so much awesome details in this interview. You're absolutely going to love it. So stay tuned. It's coming up right now.

Joe Katz:
Lacrae, thank you so much for coming. Lacrae is in the house. How are you?

Lacrae:
Wonderful. Appreciate you, thank you.

Joe Katz:
Thank you so much for joining. I'm so excited to have you on the show. I read your book, I've watched your videos, everything. It's the world of Lacrae. It's pretty serious.

Lacrae:
I feel a little underdressed to be on your show, Joe.

Joe Katz:
I know, look at this. I put on my bow tie. That's my thing, being me a stylist. I always wear my bow tie because that's my signature thing, but we want to get into your book. We want to get into your videos and all the different things that you're working on. I think it's amazing. And then we want to talk about your style, which is fabulous. So I saw some really cool things that you did and some of the cool outfits that you've worn for the awards and red carpet and all of that, but you have such an interesting background that is so fascinating when I was reading your book, I Am Restored in the whole restoration and everything that you're putting out there is just so interesting.

Joe Katz:
One of the things that really interested me about your background is how vulnerable and how open you are to things. And it's like, wow. It was just really cool because I'm a stylist and fashion, but I grew up in the Midwest and I went through a lot of bullying and different things like that, so I like to understand where people come from and where their lives started. So I wanted to find out from you, you're very open to talking about your childhood and growing up. Can you tell some of our listeners a little bit more about your growing up, just to hear your story because you're very honest and truthful and raw about everything.

Lacrae:
Yeah. I think that we love fairytales. We love pretty pictures and stories that have a happy beginning, middle and end, but that's not our reality. And certainly it wasn't my reality growing up. Was born to a mother who was young and trying to figure out her way in the world, a father who, same thing. They didn't know what they were doing. Their relationship didn't last longer than a year. And then my father kind of disappeared. Not kind of, he disappeared from the picture never to be seen again for the majority of my life. My mother struggled to figure it out.

Lacrae:
In that time period, I was raised by different family members and different people who were chipping in, which left me susceptible and vulnerable to a lot of abuse, molestation neglect and different things of that nature. So that became my reality that I had to learn how to navigate. And it was unfortunately traumatizing, but it definitely has made me into the person that I am today.

Joe Katz:
Can you tell just the listeners, because you talk about the abuse and the molestation. What was the abuse and what was the molestation?

Lacrae:
Yeah, for me, my mother had different boyfriends and of course in there, being in our home we didn't see eye to eye. They wanted to exercise their idea of what discipline was and one particular circumstance that led to me being a 10 year old kid who was pummeled, beaten, punched, and just demolished. Then from there, that kind of cycle was repeated by other men in the family. And then probably, I mean, early on in my life around six or seven, I was left with a family member who just took it upon themselves to lure me into the back room and take my innocence. For us a six, seven year old who didn't understand anything, no sex education, I didn't understand anything, it was very disorienting and confusing and me just trying to figure out what in the world is happening right now.

Joe Katz:
Did that just happen one time to you?

Lacrae:
It did. It happened that one particular time, but it set off a trajectory for me that lasted a lifetime, right? It set off something internally that made me say, "Wait, what just happened, and am I supposed to do this again?" And so what ended up happening from me was I just began to explore sexuality and anatomy all through elementary school. Different kids, and it just really opened me up to a world that I just was not mentally or emotionally prepared to deal with. And it left its own marks on me as an adult.

Joe Katz:
Wow. And so many of your mother's boyfriends were abusive physically?

Lacrae:
Yeah.

Joe Katz:
And that continued on for a long period of time or?

Lacrae:
That did. I think the last circumstance for me was, I was probably about 14 years old. I remembered that particular circumstance where I was choked almost to the point of not being able to breathe anymore where I thought this was my last breath, I'm going to take it here. My mother used all her body weight to knock him off of me. That was kind of the last straw. I think that was like, all right, this has got to stop. At 14 years old that kind of put me on a very negative trajectory. I really felt abandoned and just like, I didn't belong and I didn't have a space in society. And so I began to really act out, be very mischievous, very rebellious and and just very angry.

Joe Katz:
I mean, she basically saved your life.

Lacrae:
She did. Literally, she did.

Joe Katz:
If she wouldn't have pushed him over, he would have potentially choked you.

Lacrae:
Yeah. Yeah, literally.

Joe Katz:
So this happened with many different people.

Lacrae:
Yes. I mean, unfortunately, just growing up, I don't think I thought these were unique circumstances. I thought this was just life. This happens. I remember one of my family members, he was going on a date and his girlfriend at the time said, "Have you ever seen him talked to another woman?" And now mind you I'm seven, and I was like, "Sure. Saw him talking to a woman before we got here." And he slapped me because he was like, "You're not supposed to talk about this particular thing." I was like, "Oh." I cried so loud that he put me in the trunk of the car and drove home with me in the trunk of the car because he didn't want to hear me crying.

Lacrae:
Afterward he bought me a little book, back then they had the book that goes along with the CD.And you listen to the CD and read along this little chipmunk book. That was his way of saying don't tell anybody about what happened. So it was kind of like, all right, I got a chipmunk book and I'll just be quiet. So those were just unfortunately, a consistent kind of common theme that that happened and I didn't recognize or realize that this was not normal.

Joe Katz:
He put you, because you said that he talks to other women basically, that was the reason.

Lacrae:
Yeah. He didn't want me telling her about this girl. I mean, he was trying to pick up another girl is what it came down to, but I didn't know that that's what he was trying to do. You know what I mean? So she got upset and he smacked me because he was like, "Shut your mouth. Why did you say that?"

Joe Katz:
Right. But you're innocent. You're young. Yeah,

Lacrae:
No idea what's going on. So, for me, but those are formative times in your life, those times shape you and form you and inform you. You don't realize that you'll carry a lot of that weight even into your adulthood, which is probably why the music and the book and so on and so forth is so transparent because those are the things that needed to come out in order for me to be fully me and be fully free.

Joe Katz:
But I know you talked about trauma and about the book that the body keeps the secrets. I mean, do you feel like that's still trapped in your body?

Lacrae:
Well, I definitely feel like there's more healing. I have a good friend that I pay to talk to called a therapist.

Joe Katz:
I was wondering if you did, because I was like, maybe you just were doing, because I know you're religious and you really use that as a tool. I didn't know if you worked with a therapist or not.

Lacrae:
Oh yes. Oh yes, absolutely. I believe in God and I believe God created therapists.

Joe Katz:
Okay. That's good to know. Also you got a good friend, that's good.

Lacrae:
Yeah. So for me, that was very important to work through that healing. To work through that trauma in that pain and to deal with some of those things. Because I didn't know that those things affect. I remember the first thing my therapist told me was that two broken people does not make a whole person. You just can't expect to be. Oh because I'm not them, I'm whole, but you come from two broken people and their problems are going to have an effect. It's going to affect you. That was the eye-opener for me that led me into the portal of getting help and really working through some of those issues.

Lacrae:
Now, mind you, like you said to, do you still wrestle with those things? Absolutely, they're always going to be a part of my journey, but it's kind of like when someone passes away. You mourn them, you're sad, but over time, you're not as just destroyed. You cry uncontrollably the first year, the next year you may cry, the third year you whimper, your nose gets red and on and on. It always hurts, but you deal with it differently.

Joe Katz:
Right. And you continue to do therapy.

Lacrae:
Continued. Absolutely. I'll probably be doing it, I don't know for the foreseeable future. I don't have a cutoff date so far.

Joe Katz:
I know. I like therapy too. Yeah, I like therapy too, because I feel like... but I sometimes feel like there's a thought that with therapy, like, Oh, you don't want to be in there forever because you know, but yet, and have it's something that you depend on, but I also feel like it's super helpful too. So I think it's a double thing.

Lacrae:
Well, I mean, think of it like a stylist. It's like, sure, I don't want someone to dress me every day, but if they can put me on the right trajectory for a time period, I'm going to always need to come back to them. I don't know what's in this season, tell me what's in this season.

Joe Katz:
That's true. That's a good analogy. That's actually a good analogy because you're always going to be doing different red carpets. So then maybe the next red carpet, you need something new and the next red carpet you're going to need. You can't just be like, I showed you one time and now you're going to know for the rest of your life.

Lacrae:
Absolutely.

Joe Katz:
Do you forgive the people that abused you?

Lacrae:
Yeah. That's a great question. I think I thought I did. Right? Like I think I thought I forgave them, but I realized I didn't once I started going through therapy. Because honestly, I think forgiveness is not just saying, "I forgive you. I'm moving on." Forgiveness is more about you than it is about them. It's more about you letting go of the bitterness and the hatred that you have for somebody than it is about that person. I think I still allowed some of those people to fester that bitterness within me. That was unhealthy for me. They're living their lives. I mean, one of them was incarcerated, but they're living their lives and I'm carrying around all this resentment and bitter and hurt.

Lacrae:
So forgiveness was more for me to say, you know what? I don't know your story. I don't know what you've experienced. I don't know what led you to make these decisions that you made, and maybe you have some trauma of your own. I'm not excusing it. I don't accept what you did, but I forgive what you did. And so I think there's a difference between acceptance and forgiveness. Acceptance is like, it doesn't matter. No, it matters. But forgiveness is saying I've moved forward and I will not allow what you've done to me to create in me a bitterness that I'm going to carry around with me for the rest of my life.

Joe Katz:
Right. Have you confronted them or have you in the past or?

Lacrae:
Yeah. One I've not confronted honestly. One, I have not. I think I was always the type of person that was afraid of embarrassing them, kind of like a Stockholm Syndrome, or you can just begin you start feeling sorry for the people who've treated you terribly. So I think I wrestled with that for awhile. And then when I did address the guy who choked me out, it was more an anger. It wasn't like a happy, it was more like, yeah, and I remember, I gave him a what for in that moment.

Joe Katz:
What's a what for?

Lacrae:
I gave him a what for [inaudible 00:15:04] it sounds very old school. I gave him a what for.

Joe Katz:
Oh, what'd you do that for? Oh, a what for. You got to teach me this. I got to learn because I'm going to give some people some what fors right now. [crosstalk 00:15:19] So how did that work out? What happened?

Lacrae:
And they've never said it, they never said it to me, but I get the impression from other people around them that, that's something that they carry, that they're ashamed of. They've apologized for it. They did apologize for that. But then I have some other family members who have not apologized and, and for some of them, I think they think, well, that just comes with the territory. That's just how things were.

Joe Katz:
You just have to live with it.

Lacrae:
Yeah. It just is what it is. And so that's unfortunate. But again, if you hold onto those things too long, they hinder you from becoming who you're supposed to be. It's like, I'm supposed to be a butterfly. I can't stay in the cocoon forever. I can't keep dwelling back on the caterpillar life I lived, I've got to fly. And so I've got to let that stuff go.

Joe Katz:
Sometimes though, when you say that, I think sometimes people go, God, I wish I could fly. I wish I could. But you kind of can get stuck. Right? In that. But I mean, I don't know, what do you think the key to is from going from that cocoon to that butterfly? Not focusing on the past or?

Lacrae:
No, honestly I think you have to address the past. That's what people are afraid to do. They're afraid to open that closet. Most people are like, I just want to pretend it never happened and move forward. I think you have to open the closet. You have to address those things so that you can go through that tunnel of chaos and then come out on the other side. It's like, I did it, I went through it and I faced it, I addressed it and now I've dealt with it. It's like a wound.

Lacrae:
If you have a disease, you don't just say I don't have it. I don't know what you're talking about. I don't have cancer. I don't have cancer at all. It's like, no, let's address it. Even though you want to live in denial because once you address it, you can change your diet now. You can change your activities now, you can get treatment now and you can come out on the other side, hopefully better. I think that's what it took for me. Yeah.

Joe Katz:
That takes a long time, doesn't it or not necessarily?

Lacrae:
Yeah. I mean obviously, it's not an overnight process.

Joe Katz:
Yeah. Did you feel ashamed of what happened to you?

Lacrae:
That's a good question. I think I did. I think I felt it in different way than most people probably would. I felt ashamed because I thought I was weak. I thought I should have been able to do something about it. Because mind you, I'm a kid. I can't stop these people from what they're doing, but I thought I should have been able to. And so I think subconsciously I'll walk into adulthood thinking to myself, I've got to be stronger. This is a bravado, false sense of machismo type. And it's like, that's not who you are. You're letting these circumstances create a false narrative for you that you're weak and that you are defenseless. The truth of the matter is those were adults and you were a child.

Lacrae:
So I was ashamed because I didn't do better. I think I carried that with me for awhile. But you know, as far as the molestation and even the abuse, I think, our stories are not always pretty, but they're ours. So if you embrace your story, then you've got power now. Right? You've taken control of it instead of letting it take control of you. And so it's like, yeah, it's not pretty. It's not something that I wish upon anyone else, but it doesn't define me. It's part of my story and I am who I am today because I went through that and I've used it in a better way.

Lacrae:
I always like to say, "No one wants to eat a stick of butter. No one wants to eat a cup of flour. No one wants to eat raw eggs or a whole cup of sugar. But when you mix them all together and you put them in the oven and refined it under heat, you get something good. You get cake." I'm allowing the cake to come forward and not focus on all those ingredients that were disgusting-

Joe Katz:
Individually.

Lacrae:
...by themselves. Exactly.

Joe Katz:
Yeah. Interesting. I know you went through like kind of a rock bottom that you talked about. What did that look like?

Lacrae:
Yeah. Rock bottom for me was, mind you I'm at the top of the top. Of course, you got Grammy's, you got awards, you got celebrity guests lists, all of these particular things, but you still feel a sense of emptiness. For me, I had spent so much of my childhood attaching my worth to people's approval. It's because I was abandoned by my father. I went through all these traumatic events. So if I wasn't approved of, then I was in some sense worthless. And so for me, what had happened was that I had both on a mainstream and on a faith based side, ascended this hill.

Lacrae:
Well, I guess I didn't recognize and realize that people are people religious or not they're people and they're broken people. They have their own issues. Oftentimes religious people walk with this pious, like I've got it figured out type of mindset, which is totally false. If anything, I would say, I lean into my faith because I know I don't have it together versus, I have it together because my faith. You know what I mean?

Joe Katz:
Right, right.

Lacrae:
And so when the religious institutions kind of attacked me, you're doing songs with these people and you're consorting with these sinful folks, so to speak. I think that was painful, but I would blame God and not blame the people. That was part of my problem. So it was kind of like, Oh, I don't know, I'm disoriented spiritually now. Then I'm disoriented relationally as well, because my marriage is on the rocks and it's looking bad. Then I'm disoriented emotionally because I'm going through a depression now, because nothing's making sense. How do I have all of this? But yet I'm just discombobulated everywhere.

Lacrae:
So that was a point where I was just like, I'm done. What is the point? I think what happened for me was I got to a place where I realized, you know what? People will always let you down. They are not the object of my purpose or my source. I had to begin to realize that if you live for people's acceptance, you'll die from their rejection. I am not successful compared to what I do to them or for them, I'm successful compared to what I was created to do. I had to focus in on that and not be concerned with everyone else's voices. Where's the voices that love me, that care about me let me zero in on those. Let me zero in on my loved ones, my faith and that really brought me to a healthier place.

Joe Katz:
And so what was the rock bottom? It was the faith coming against you, and then you started, do you drink?

Lacrae:
Oh man. Practically? Yes. I mean, what starts as a drink becomes, you know every time I hit the lounge, I've got to have four or five of them. It's like, I'm drinking by myself all the time now. I'm taking pills for anxiety and then you start abusing those pills and taking them with alcohol and you're just creating this spiral. And now you have an alcohol addiction and you're trying to kick these pills, which are creating more anxiety because you're having a withdrawal effects. So it was terrible, terrible, terrible, terrible. It was hell on earth and I don't recommend it for anybody.

Joe Katz:
Yeah. How'd you get out of it, how'd you stop? Was it just cold or?

Lacrae:
Yeah. Yeah, for me it was cold because I woke up one morning in a clinical depression. And clinical depression is a little bit different than just kind of like feeling sad.

Joe Katz:
Oh, yeah.

Lacrae:
Yeah. So clinical, it's like my brain shut down. It was scary. I was so petrified that kind of like the show where the kids, the inmates come and scare them, Scared Straight. I was scared straight. I was kind of like, okay, I'm ruining my brain right now. I don't know what is happening, but I'm definitely ruining my brain. I've got to stop. Stop everything. I stopped cold turkey and got counseling and that was what I needed. It wasn't easy, I'll say that everyone can't do that. I was fortunate enough to be able to do it, but I lived to see another day.

Lacrae:
It's been three years since.

Joe Katz:
Three years since that.

Lacrae:
Yeah, it's been three years.

Joe Katz:
And how did you overcome? I mean, because clinical depression, that just meant, you just felt like you didn't couldn't function well every day. Right?

Lacrae:
Right.

Joe Katz:
And how did you overcome that? Was that just through therapy, through multiple things?

Lacrae:
Yeah. I mean, initially mine was really acute. My clinical depression was very acute, so I had to take medication initially. I tell people all the time, "Take it. It's a cast for your brain." It's just the cast. It's like, you break your arm, you put a cast on it. You may not have to wear it forever, but you wear it until you can function and heal. Some people will be able to take that cast off, some people won't and that's okay. For some folks, their medicine is going to be like, vitamin C, you just got to take it every morning. It's whatever. But then of course therapy.

Lacrae:
The tools I learned in therapy, I did EMDR, which is like where you deal with trauma and it helps erase a lot of that. And then I did cognitive behavioral therapy, which was great. And then met with a counselor and a therapist. I wish I would've known sooner. Had I known all this 10 years ago, probably we wouldn't have this conversation. But I wouldn't be who I am.

Joe Katz:
That's true. Oh, so you did EMDR for a period of time.

Lacrae:
I did it for about a year. Yeah. I did EMDR for a year.

Joe Katz:
That's good. Yeah.

Lacrae:
It was phenomenal.

Joe Katz:
I have to say, do you consider yourself more of like faith-based rap or how do you describe it?

Lacrae:
Yeah, I would say that my music is art and so my art will always reflect my heart and my perspectives. And of course, my faith is defining for me, but I don't want to prostitute my art for the sake of making sure people know what I believe. I want that to be natural. You know what I mean? It's like, I want to wear a nice outfit. I want to wear a nice outfit, it doesn't have to have 'God created me' on the front of the shirt-

Joe Katz:
Or a picture of Jesus.

Lacrae:
Exactly. We want the art to be done well. And so that's kind of my perspective. Of course you'll hear it flashed out in my music or my writings, but I'm a human being and I want people to know that as well. Is that if you can relate to me on a human level, on an emotional level, then we can have spiritual conversations. Because I needed that. I wasn't raised in church or anything like that. So I needed to see people on a human realistic level before I can have a spiritual conversations with them. Just like, where are you? Are you going to be weird and obnoxious with this, or are you just like a normal person and we just have a conversation about this?

Joe Katz:
I like how honest and raw and truthful and forward you are with somebody. I don't see a lot of other rap people saying, here's what happened to me. I grew up in this terrible area, they're not as honest. And it's like, do you get pushback from other people like, Oh, you're not as cool, or you're like the Little Wayne of the faith based. You don't see the Little Wayne talking about that, do you? About his feelings.

Lacrae:
No, but I think that's the product of a lack of that consistent whole personhood that most of us didn't grow up seeing. Especially in the hip hop community. Just being a whole person. It's only been recently that in the last five years that Jay Z has gone to therapy. So it is something that he now can speak to, but we were just taught to be everything against that. We were taught this idea of, you got to figure this out on your own and you don't need any help. Don't tell about your feelings. Some of that is because there's no room for that. If you're vulnerable, you're weak and if you're weak, then you're susceptible to being eaten alive out here.

Lacrae:
I guess I've just gotten to a point where I become an elder brother, to where I can say, "Hey, listen, I wish somebody would've told me that I'm not weak and that I can be vulnerable." I think the tides are changing now, but it took time.

Joe Katz:
Well, that makes sense. You know I never thought of it like that. That like, if you're weak, you could get killed. You could get eaten.

Lacrae:
Yeah.

Joe Katz:
Yeah. So there's no room for weak or to say my feelings were hurt when you said that.

Lacrae:
No.

Joe Katz:
It's like, you got to get over it because if you don't, you're getting run over. Yeah. One of the things I read in your book is that you grew up with not a lot and that you had a mattress with cinder blocks and you fell, and you had no couch. And it's like, if you grow up like that, I just think, how do you get out of that poor mindset? How do you get to go, "I can have everything now." It's not just a switch that you turn on and go, "Guess what? I had nothing. Now I can have everything."

Lacrae:
Yeah. I think it's a learning process. But the cool thing about it is that I wasn't an overnight success. I had gradual success and so my life didn't just change overnight. There were just little things that happened. I think that was helpful for me because I was able to grow into that space. I didn't know I was poor when we were poor. I didn't realize that. I thought it was cool. We were functioning. But I remember the first time I got $1,000 and I was like, I was a grown man. I was like, I have $1,000.

Joe Katz:
That's a lot.

Lacrae:
It was like mind-blowing to me. But it came after getting 200 and then 400.

Joe Katz:
I see. It wasn't just thrown at you right away.

Lacrae:
Exactly. And so it was kind of like, all right, what am I going to do different? And making little adjustments and little adjustments and I was fortunate in that way. Now I have some friends who were overnight successes and that's a different story.

Joe Katz:
Wow. You have so many interesting stories and I see all your awards behind you. Does it feel like your success behind you, like your armor? I don't know. I feel like it's a good protector for you.

Lacrae:
So, you know what? that's the interesting thing is that it was, and in a way, that was part of my problem because I allowed the successes to define me more than man, the little boy who was taken advantage of was just as valuable as the person with these awards. Right?

Joe Katz:
Okay.

Lacrae:
And I needed to know that. I needed to know that I mattered and I should have been cared for then, and I should have been respected then. And I should have been loved then. I shouldn't have to win an award to be treated fairly, to be loved, to be respected. So that was some of the unlearning I had to do was because I constantly felt, it was kind of like the interrelationship where you're like, [inaudible 00:33:05] do you love me? Do you love me? What do I need to do to make you love me? Do you love me? Do you love me now? Do you love now? And it's like, you are lovable and you deserve to be loved. And it's not because of you having to constantly prove yourself. So that's some of the work that I had to do, all my self. To say, you know what? My worth is not predicated on what I've accomplished.

Lacrae:
Though I'm grateful and I'm glad and that's a reflection of the awesomeness that's within me. But but it's more about the gift that God has given me than it is about people celebrating those gifts.

Joe Katz:
As opposed to going, "Look at my Grammy, screw you now. See I'm a good person. Look at my BET awards, screw you, double screw you."

Lacrae:
Yeah, absolutely.

Joe Katz:
But you can't do that. One of the things you wrote in your book was about fear and I wondered what do you fear?

Lacrae:
I think I will always fear being alone. Because I was alone as a child, I'll always fear that. I'll always fear being abandoned or alone, because that was something that I had to wrestle with. Now I know I'll have to wrestle with that and I'll be processing that for life, and hopefully as I get older, it won't be as terrible of a fear as time progresses. It's not as bad today as it was three years ago. But I think that's my fear, is being alone.

Lacrae:
I was a serial monogamist before I landed this plane here. And just the idea of people turning their back on me and saying, "We no longer want to be in your world," is scary. Very scary.

Joe Katz:
You mean, are you talking about with your art or with your family? I feel like when you say that I go, you have three kids, don't you? You have a wife, you'll never be alone.

Lacrae:
Well, but that's what I'm saying. My grandmother had 12 kids and of the 12, I want to say one of the 12 has not been divorced. Right? So for me, that's always a fear of like, Oh shoot, there's dysfunction. I've just seen so much dysfunction growing up and people leave and people go and families and people go to jail and all kinds of crazy stuff happens. And so it's like training myself to say, "Hey, this is a different story you're living in right now." It's okay. Calm down. That's not going to happen. And so it's living in that reality.

Joe Katz:
I saw on your Instagram, you got in really good shape.

Lacrae:
I did.

Joe Katz:
So is that part of your healing?

Lacrae:
Oh, absolutely. Absolutely.

Joe Katz:
Why?

Lacrae:
I think the endorphins from working out, because I'm an addict. Okay? I'm going to be addicted to something.

Joe Katz:
Let it be something good, right?

Lacrae:
Exactly. Let it be something good. For me, it's the endorphins from working out. I mean, it's sanity, it's 80% sanity and 20% vanity. I'll be honest with you. It's 20% vanity. It's just like, I like the way this looks, this feels. But it's definitely very good for me emotionally also feel like I got something accomplished and I'm moving in a direction of progress. I think we all need to feel like that in life, like we're moving towards something, getting accomplished. And so that's one place and one area where I feel like that happens.

Joe Katz:
Was it like taking your body back? Did you have shame about that?

Lacrae:
I think that's probably included in there. That's definitely like what a lot of decisions that I've made have been that, right? You know what? I'm going to grow my hair out because it's mine or I'm going to work out, and I'm sculpting this. And so yes, I would definitely say that's a part of it for me.

Joe Katz:
Because I saw a picture of you and Instagram, where you were sitting on a couch and then on the other side where you hadn't worked out, and then the other one it's like you were all ripped up. I was like, wow. You did a side by side of like a long time ago or something. Did you do a program or something or do you just have a trainer?

Lacrae:
I worked with a trainer for a while. Yeah, I worked with a trainer for a while just to try to get in good shape because I needed some training wheels first. Now I can do it by myself. But at first I needed some training wheels. It's like, what am I doing? How do I do? What is this? So it was regimented eating, all that type of stuff, but it was good for me in that process. Yeah.

Joe Katz:
Okay. I have to talk about your style. So we're on style because what is my show without style? So we have to ask, how do you determine what you're going to wear on stage? Because I see you love certain brands. I see Balenciaga, I saw, it looks like you like sneakers. How do you determine what you're going to wear on the red carpet? And what would you define your style as?

Lacrae:
I'm definitely not a first early adopter, right? I'm not the person that's like, I'm going to make my own way and create this thing. I would say I'm an appreciator of great art. So to me, style is art. And when someone can create a look that is attractive to me, then I gravitate toward that. But I like being comfortable as well. So it's like, some people choose, I don't know the proper term, but something over fashion. Function over fashion. So I'm the type of person that I like my function to be fashionable, I guess this is like. So I was like, I want comfort, but I wanted to be fashionable if I can. So yeah, I think there's a mixture there.

Lacrae:
I appreciate the time and effort and energy it takes to make designer things. I appreciate the work people go through to do that. But at the same time, I also appreciate where people are like, I just want it to flow and look good on you and your frame and so on and so forth. And so that's another thing that I'm very appreciative of. So yeah. I like if there's a word for it, maybe like where designer and leisure meet someway.

Joe Katz:
Oh, yeah. Because now there's athleisure, which is athletic and leisure, but maybe there's designer and leisure yeah. Where it's comfortable. Right.

Lacrae:
Exactly.

Joe Katz:
So is one of your favorite? Do you have a favorite designer you like to wear, or there's a bunch?

Lacrae:
I love Jerry Lorenzo.

Joe Katz:
Oh yeah, he's great.

Lacrae:
I think he's phenomenal. I love people, I don't know their names and I'm terrible at this, but Japanese fashion has been really cool for me to see.

Joe Katz:
Do you have a stylist or no?

Lacrae:
Oh yeah. I do. I work with a stylist. I have a couple of people that I like to work with. One of them is a different Chelsea Little and she's very great. Another guy is Toray and he's out in Los Angeles and I like working with both of them. They're both very different. Chelsea is, very sophisticated. Chelsea would know what to wear to the white house if I was invited there. She's got this, like, I know what you should wear there. Where Toray is like, I know how you can make a statement and have everyone paying attention. And so, I like working with both of them. Chelsea's dressed me for a lot of red carpets-

Joe Katz:
That's great.

Lacrae:
...in the past.

Joe Katz:
Yeah. Because I've seen you on the red carpet and yeah, you got a cool vibe going on and it's it's well put together. And fashion evolves all the time, what's one of the secrets that when you're on the carpet that you're like, I always do this and it works. Or do you have any like little secrets that have been successful?

Lacrae:
Yeah. I think for me, it's really like cut to my body. When things are like really fitted to my shape. I'm 6'4, broad shoulders, so when things fit around me like that, I think it works well for me. I have to work with what I have, the frame work that I have going on here. So that's probably where I lean. But shoes has always been an Achilles because I'm a 14, so that's always been tough.

Joe Katz:
Who do you wear, Christian Louboutin, have you gotten or Jimmy Choo or Fendi?

Lacrae:
Yeah. I mean everything from Gucci, like you said, Balenciaga, Fendi.

Joe Katz:
Well, okay. My very last question. I always end this. You have been so gracious with your time and taking all your time. You have so many good insights and so much good stuff. So my last question is, what would be one piece of advice or something that you haven't told anybody that could help somebody else?

Lacrae:
Oh I think that, it's funny. I haven't told anybody, this is my favorite artist of all time is Lauryn Hill. And I met Ms. Lauryn Hill backstage, and I was just telling her about how impactful she was in my life and how amazing I thought she was. And I said, "You inspire me to do what I'm doing now. To give life and to give hope to people out there, to allow people to see that my scars can bring healing. When people see my scars, they believe that healing is real." And she said this to me and I thought it was so profound. This is what I would tell other people as well. She says, "Isn't that what I'm supposed to do? Isn't my job and your job now to inspire people to be the best versions of themselves?" And I was like, "Wow."

Lacrae:
I'm thanking her, and she's like, "You don't have to thank me. That's what I was put here to do. I'm here to inspire you to be a better version of you, continue that moment. Like kinetic energy, keep this going."

Joe Katz:
Pay it forward like.

Lacrae:
Exactly. Exactly. And so that's what I would tell someone. You're here to be great so someone else will be great.

Joe Katz:
Wow. That's amazing. I want everybody to know, you have to go and check out Lacrae's book, I Am Restored: How I lost my Religion, But Gained My Faith. You've done so much. I could read all these things. I got all this from your publicist. Love beyond the walls, love sinks in, portable hand washing basins funded by you throughout the Atlanta area, rebuilding Atlanta's West side, live free in the US mass for people. I mean the list can go on and on and on. I mean, collab partnerships, venture capital for African-American inventors. I mean talk about paying it forward. You really are doing it Lacrae.

Lacrae:
Isn't that what I'm supposed to do? In the words of Lauryn Hill.

Joe Katz:
There you go. There you go. That's amazing. Lacrae, you have been so gracious. Thank you for sharing all your wisdom. I felt like I wanted to write things down as we were talking. But we have a video, so we'll have forever. So everybody check out all of his things, the restoration single, the book, all of it. The book is available on Amazon, all the different websites. So many great things. I'm so happy that you came on the show.

Lacrae:
All right Joe. Thank you. Thanks for having me.

Joe Katz:
See you later.

Joe Katz:
Thanks for listening to the Katz Walk. Make sure to subscribe to the show on your favorite podcast app. This has been a production of Evergreen Podcast. A special thank you to Executive Producer, Gerardo Orlando, Producer, Leo Longbrake and Audio Engineer, Dave Douglas.

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