Empire_Derek MinorDerek Minor
Reflection Music Group
Rating: 4/5 stars
Genre: Hip-Hop/Rap

Five projects into his career thus far, Derek Minor releases an album that continues to lend credibility to the faith-based hip-hop genre. Empire, Minor’s first project on his own label, Reflection Music Group, revolves around the theme of expanding the Kingdom of God here on earth. Minor literally fleshes out this topic through extensive collaboration.

Although he handled the majority of production duties himself, he also brought in a handful of well-respected producers to helm the project, including SykSense (Drake, 6god), Gawvi (Lecrae, Andy Mineo), Tyshane (Lecrae, Tedashii), Black Knight (KB, Andy Mineo) and Dirty Rice (Lecrae).

Empire is dark and moody at times, yet surprisingly melodic. In fact, Minor’s collaboration with Colton Dixon on “Fly” could easily fit into a playlist alongside TobyMac’s radio-ready hits. Dramatic overtones pervade the project. Theatrical sonic nuances give way to explosive choruses accented by Minor’s many special guests. Eleven of the album’s 16 generous tracks feature appearances from Lecrae, Tedashii, Colton Dixon, Anthony Evans, Jr., Leah Smith and Canon, among others.

As evidenced from his who’s who guest list, it’s obvious he’s a well-respected player in the industry. Lyrically, Minor is theologically solid. He unabashedly gives social commentary, but all from a faith perspective. In a genre often defined by sub-par quality and trite content, Empire proves Christian hip-hop can remain legitimate without forsaking its integrity.

Download Empire on iTunes here.

This review was first published in Living Light News.