Huffington Magazine This Week: Music With a Message

In this week's issue, Jon Ward profiles Lecrae Moore, a fascinating artist straddling the Christian and hip hop worlds.

Moore, whose music comes with a distinctly Christian message, has long been a poster child for evangelical Christians spreading their gospel at festivals and events. Over the past two years, however, Moore has started breaking into more mainstream hip hop circles, trying to reach a broader audience.

"Lecrae is one of many modern evangelicals who have rejected the path set by the combative 'Moral Majority' culture warriors of the 1980s, and instead embraced an assimilation into the mainstream and its formative institutions, hoping to shape it from within," Jon writes.

At times, this places him awkwardly between two worlds: the Christians who think he's sold out, and the hip hop listeners who don't want music with a moral lesson of any kind. But for the most part, his message is subtle enough to appeal to both camps.

When BET's director of music programming, Kelly Griffin, first heard Moore's music, he equated it to how he felt when he first heard Kanye West.

"[Lecrae] makes being a Christian cool. It doesn't feel preachy," Griffin told Jon. "It doesn't come off as holier than thou, but speaks to people's circumstances, experiences, and just life in general, just like regular hip hop."

Elsewhere in the issue, Jillian Berman tells the disturbing story of how a drug company got Americans addicted to heroin. The rise in heroin use over the past decade has run alongside a rise in prescription opioids, which are painkillers that are a "medical cousin to heroin," Jillian explains. The difference is, opioids are legal when prescribed by a doctor. Nearly four out of five people who recently became addicted to heroin used prescription painkillers first.

"We have now this incredibly unusual public health crisis that's essentially caused by physicians, caused by the health care industry," Meldon Kahan, the medical director of substance use services at the Women's College Hospital in Toronto, tells Jillian.

In our Voices section, Mark Gongloff weighs in on a recent incident that stirred public outrage: when a Burger King employee handed an elderly customer her receipt with a profane insult written on it. Mark draws on his personal experience in order to bring some much-needed perspective to the story.

"I worked in fast food for years, and let me tell you: The customers there... can be the worst part of a pretty terrible job, one that involves grueling physical labor, rock-bottom pay, miserable working conditions and the feeling like you will never, ever get the smell and feel of grease out of your hair, face or clothing," Mark writes.

Finally, as part of our continued focus on The Third Metric, we look back -- more than two thousand years -- at a man who may have found the secret to happiness.


This story appears in Issue 91 of our weekly iPad magazine, Huffington, available Friday, March 7 in the iTunes App store.