Christian hip-hop artists Lecrae and Trip Lee are speaking out after their Reach Records labelmate Gawvi was dropped following allegations of sending unsolicited explicit photos to women while he was married.
Lecrae, who co-founded Atlanta-based Reach in 2004, and Trip Lee, who is signed to the label, recently spoke with RELEVANT to address the scandal and expand on Reach’s decision to release Gawvi from the label.
“When women come to our concerts or interact with us we want them to be encouraged and blessed, not taken advantage of,” Trip Lee tells RELEVANT. “There’s absolutely no excuse for that, and it grieves me to think anyone has had a different experience.”
Lecrae adds, “It’s definitely been a challenging couple days, man. It’s been a rollercoaster of emotions. It’s a lot to process. You’ve got to process everything, you’ve got to make decisions in the midst of it all. So it’s been rough.”
Gawvi, a producer and rapper, revealed on Instagram in late January that his marriage to wife Brianna Azucena ended in 2020. “There is no scandal to gossip about, just 2 adults that made decisions that lead to this point,” he wrote in the since-deleted post.
Following the announcement, visual artist and designer Cataphant defended her friend Azucena on Twitter. “Years ago I made album artwork for @gawvi,” Cataphant wrote. “For my next project I’m going to make a collage of all the unasked for di– pics he sent to women while he was still married.”
Gawvi had not publicly commented on Cataphant’s allegations at press time.
Reach Records announced on Jan. 31 that Gawvi had been dropped from the label. The artist was also released from Reach’s upcoming We Are Unashamed Tour, featuring Lecrae, Trip Lee, Tedashii and others. The trek is scheduled to proceed without Gawvi on March 17 in Austin, Texas.
“Due to behavior that is inconsistent with our core values, we have ended our professional relationship with Gawvi,” Reach wrote in a statement. “New details that were provided made us realize today’s decision was necessary. We also want our actions to be a reflection of love, care, and concern for those who fail and those who are affected by our failures.”
Lecrae tells RELEVANT that while his “professional relationship” with Gawvi has ended, he still wants to maintain a friendship with the artist.
“If you were stealing money from me, it doesn’t mean I’m going to hire you as my accountant again, but it doesn’t mean that we can’t be friends again,” Lecrae says. “It doesn’t mean we can’t be in relationship, and that’s really what’s most important.”
The rapper adds, “There’s always access to God regardless of how far we go off the rails. And if anybody is willing to confess and forsake their transgressions, there should be access to the Church as well, to the body of believers.”
Trip Lee echoes those sentiments. “We are talking about the professional relationship. This is not the end of our friendship with him and it’s not the end of trying to walk with him,” the artist says. “I just want my brother to be in a happy, healthy, whole, faithful place. I want his family to be in a happy, whole place.”
Listen to the full interview on the RELEVANT podcast here.