Church Clothes 3

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Church Clothes 3
Cover art for Church Clothes 3
Mixtape by
ReleasedJanuary 15, 2016 (2016-01-15)
GenreChristian hip hop, conscious hip hop
ProducerBlack Knight, Epikh Pro, GAWVI, Mykalife, Ryan Righteous, S1 (also exec.), Shindo, VohnBeatz
Lecrae chronology
Church Clothes 3
All Things Work Together

Church Clothes 3 is the third mixtape by Christian hip hop recording artist Lecrae. It was released on January 15, 2016, through his label Reach Records. The mixtape is the third in his Church Clothes series, and his first major release since his studio album Anomaly (2014). It features guest appearances from E-40, N'dambi, Propaganda, John Givez, JGivens, Jackie Hill-Perry, and label-mate KB.[1][2] While the previous two mixtapes were hosted by DJ Don Cannon, on Church Clothes 3 S1 served as executive producer on the tape. In addition to S1, Epikh Pro, Black Knight, GAWVI, and others contributed production to the mixtape.[1][2]

The mixtape was released without any prior announcement or marketing campaign.[3] Available in digital form through iTunes and other online vendors, physical copies were made available exclusively through DTLR stores.[4] Church Clothes 3 sold well during its first charting week, reaching No. 12 on the Billboard 200 and No. 1 on the US Top Christian, Independent, and Rap Albums charts. It also met with a positive reception from critics. It was highly praised for its high production value and it lyricism, which explores aspects racism, gang violence, and oppression; however, the mixtape also received some criticism for a lack of creativity and some inconsistency in its lyrical themes.[5][6] Alongside the album, Lecrae released a longform music video entitled "Church Clothes 3: A Short Film", which features the songs "It Is What It Is", "Gangland", "Déjà Vu", and "Misconceptions 3".[1] The music video was praised for its vintage feel and beautiful visuals.[7] A second video, for the song "Freedom", was released on January 18, 2016.[8]

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Christian Manifesto4/5 stars
Cross Rhythms8/10 squares[9]
HipHopDX3.5/5 stars
Jesus Freak Hideout4.5/5 stars
4/5 stars
Rap Remnant4.7/5
Reel Gospel3/5

Cal Moore at The Christian Manifesto gave the mixtape four stars out of five, noting the high quality and sonic diversity of the production values and Lecrae's growth as a lyricism and wordplay. He appreciated Lecrae's increasing social consciousness on tracks such as "Freedom", "Gangland", and "Misconceptions 3", which in his view "pull absolutely zero punches when it comes to addressing social ills", but found the tracks "Sidelines" (addressing Lecrae's critics) and "Forever" (Lecrae expressing faithfulness to his wife) to be clichéd.[10] Moore concluded that Church Clothes 3 is a solid release, but that, at times, he found it overly similar to Sho Baraka's release Talented 10th.[10]

Victoria Hernandez of HipHopDX rated Church Clothes 3 three-and-a-half out of five, praising the mixtape's production and how Lecrae's lyrics meld social issues with expressions of his faith, but opining that Lecrae did not introduce anything new on the tape.[11] Rap Remnant viewed the mixtape highly favorably, rating it four-point-seven out of five and lavishing praise on Lecrae's lyrical themes of social injustice, racial tension, oppression, and the need for the Gospel.[5] Carlin Doyle of Reel Gospel was more mixed, rating the recording three out of five. He likewise praised the lyrical themes of the mixtape, but found that, when compared to Lecrae's 2014 album Anomaly, the production on Church Clothes 3 is rushed and lacking in creativity.[6]

Kevin Hoskins of Jesus Freak Hideout rated the mixtape four-and-a-half stars out of five, opining that with the solid production, deep message, and accompanying visuals, Church Clothes 3 "so much more than just a mixtape."[12] Mark Rice, also from Jesus Freak Hideout, gave the mixtape four stars, explaining that he found Lecrae too defensive in his message, but otherwise highly pleased with the release.[13] A review by The Red and Black found the mixtape's message regarding African American youth, gang violence, and inequality to be similar to Kendrick Lamar's To Pimp a Butterfly, albeit that Lecrae took a more direct and blunt approach. They likewise praised the mixtape's production, considering it some of the most diverse production to come from a Lecrae release. However, they found that, as the mixtape progressed, Lecrae resorted to trend-seeking and brag tracks, which clashed with the earlier themes of social oppression.[14]

Commercial performance[edit]

Church Clothes 3 debuted at number 12 on the Billboard 200 selling 29,207 equivalent copies (25,665 in pure album sales).[15] It also charted at No. 1 on the Christian, Independent, and Rap Albums charts, as well as No. 3 on the Digital chart.

Track listing[edit]

1."Freedom" (featuring N'Dambi)S1, co-produced by Epikh Pro and VohnBeatz2:51
2."Gangland" (featuring Propaganda)S1, co-produced by Shindo3:47
3."Deja Vu"S14:09
4."Sidelines"Mykalife and Ryan Righteous3:36
5."Cruising"S1, co-produced by Epikh Pro3:20
6."It Is What It Is"S1, co-produced by Epikh Pro4:05
7."Can't Do You" (featuring E-40)Black Knight3:27
8."Forever"S1 co produced by K-Ross3:04
9."Misconceptions 3" (featuring John Givez, JGivens and Jackie Hill-Perry)S1, co-produced by Epikh Pro4:29
10."I Wouldn't Know" (featuring KB)GAWVI3:40


  • "Cruising" contains uncredited vocals performed by Natalie Lauren
  • "Can't Do You" contains uncredited vocals performed by Drew Allen
  • "Forever" contains uncredited vocals performed by K.Ross
  • "I Wouldn't Know" contains uncredited vocals performed by ELHAE


Chart (2016) Peak
Canadian Albums (Billboard)[16] 57
US Billboard 200[17] 12
US Christian Albums (Billboard)[18] 1
US Independent Albums (Billboard)[19] 1
US Top Rap Albums (Billboard)[20] 1
US Digital Albums (Billboard)[21] 3


  1. ^ a b c Ruggieri, Melissa (January 15, 2016). "Lecrae drops 'Church Clothes 3' mixtape, announces memoir". The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Cox Enterprises. Retrieved January 15, 2016.
  2. ^ a b Yap, Timothy (January 15, 2016). "Lecrae Surprises Fans with the Release of "Church Clothes 3" Mixtape". Hallels. Retrieved January 15, 2016.
  3. ^ Daniels, David (January 14, 2016). "Lecrae releases surprise mixtape 'Church Clothes 3' featuring E-40 and more". Rapzilla. Retrieved January 15, 2016.
  4. ^ Gatewood, Niki (January 15, 2016). "Lecrae Drops New Mixtape, 'Church Clothes 3'". AllHipHop. AHH Holding LLC. Retrieved January 25, 2016.
  5. ^ a b Noble, Brendan (January 17, 2016). "ALBUM REVIEW :: Lecrae – Church Clothes 3". Rap Remnant. Retrieved January 18, 2016.
  6. ^ a b Doyle, Carlin (January 18, 2016). "Album Review: Lecrae – Church Clothes 3". Reel Gospel. Retrieved January 18, 2016.
  7. ^ Bonita (January 15, 2016). "Lecrae Goes As Hard As Any MC Out, Spiritual Or Otherwise (Video)". Ambrosia For Heads. Retrieved January 18, 2016.
  8. ^ Daniels, David (January 18, 2016). "Video: Lecrae – Freedom ft. N'Dambi". Rapzilla. Retrieved January 18, 2016.
  9. ^ Midgley, Andrew (May 9, 2016). "Review: Church Clothes 3 – Lecrae". Cross Rhythms. Retrieved May 18, 2016.
  10. ^ a b Moore, Cal (January 21, 2016). "Church Clothes 3". The Christian Manifesto. Archived from the original on February 5, 2016. Retrieved January 25, 2016.
  11. ^ Hernandez, Victoria (January 19, 2016). "Lecrae – Church Clothes 3". HipHopDX. Cheri Media Group. Retrieved January 20, 2016.
  12. ^ Hoskins, Kevin (January 20, 2016). "Lecrae, "Church Clothes, Vol. 3" Review". Jesus Freak Hideout. Retrieved February 12, 2016.
  13. ^ Rice, Mark (January 27, 2016). "Lecrae, "Church Clothes, Vol. 3" Review – Second Staff Opinion". Jesus Freak Hideout. Retrieved January 21, 2016.
  14. ^ Hansen, Zach (January 20, 2016). "Rapper Lecrae drops surprise mixtape, addresses socially conscious themes". The Red and Black. The Red and Black Publishing Company, Inc. Retrieved January 21, 2016.
  15. ^ Smith, Trevor (January 27, 2016). "Charts Don't Lie: January 27th". hotnewhiphop. Retrieved January 27, 2016.
  16. ^ "Lecrae Chart History (Canadian Albums)". Billboard.
  17. ^ "Lecrae Chart History (Billboard 200)". Billboard. Retrieved January 26, 2016.
  18. ^ "Lecrae Chart History (Christian Albums)". Billboard. Retrieved January 26, 2016.
  19. ^ "Lecrae Chart History (Independent Albums)". Billboard. Retrieved January 26, 2016.
  20. ^ "Lecrae Chart History (Top Rap Albums)". Billboard. Retrieved January 26, 2016.
  21. ^ "Lecrae Chart History (Digital Albums)". Billboard. Retrieved January 26, 2016.