Derek Minor "Empire"
by Michael Tackett ( on 2015-02-24 11:40:12

I gotta be honest… Hip/Hop lost its appeal to me at a young age. Growing up, trying to listen to Christian Hip/Hop was difficult because the production or the lyrics lacked the quality that I was used to hearing from the secular industry. It felt like the Christian Hip/Hop industry was always behind when it came to quality.

From a secular stand point, I couldn’t justify listening to music that used bad language and glorified bad choices. I didn’t respect those artists and couldn’t listen or promote such records. (No matter how good the beat was) I was stuck and thus the genre lost its appeal.

Recently, though… the Christian genre has been given new life. Such Hip/Hop artists as Lecrea, Tedashii, Trip Lee, Derek Minor and Andy Mineo have brought forth impressive records and the rest of the Christian industry has started to notice. Recently, many of them have even been used in modern Christian pop/rock and worship songs. (Chris Tomlin- Awake My Soul (with Lecrae), Tenth Avenue North- For Those Who Can't Speak (with Derek Minor and KB))

So with a new appreciation for the Christian Hip/Hop scene, I was given Derek Minor's new offering EMPIRE. Derek Minor wastes no time in hitting the listener hard with “All Hail to the King”. He then packs on the punches with such tracks as “Empire”, “Who You Know” and “Kingdom Come”. The beats are heavy and the lyrics are just as good. Sometimes you hear a song like “Kingdom Come” and you hear the beats. Other times your hear the story he tells. It’s a very multidimensional experience and one that Minor does very well.

Right when the album's beats start to blend in, a little Minor hits you with “Fly”(feat. Colton Dixon) that brings new life to the album. From there you get my personal favorite “Oceans” and the most upbeat song on the record “Party People”. This transition from aggressive, in your face, songs to upbeat fun tracks may seem out of place but it doesn’t come off that way. From a Hip/Hop stand point I think mixing it up greatly keeps the listener intrigued and engaged. The final track “Until the End of Time” brings the record home and to a wonderful close. Derek Minor has been asking and speaking about Empires, and in this final track he reveals his own heart's desire.

After every listen, I am continually impressed with the production of this record. It’s aggressive, fun and constantly thought-provoking. Yet with its deep lyrics the message is simple. How do you make your Empire? What’s in it? Who is in it? What is your goal? Derek Minor raps it best I think, “Buildin' His Empire that’ll never die”.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Genre: Rap / Hip-Hop
Label: Entertainment One Music
Release Date: January 27, 2015
Buy it: Amazon - iTunes

Intro (2:12)
All Hail The King (3:42)
Empire (3:10)
Who You Know (4:14)
Babel 1 (1:57)
Kingdom Come (3:27)
Slow Down (3:48)
Stranger (4:45)
Last Forever (3:47)
Save Me (3:45)
Babel 2 (3:01)
Fly (3:42)
Oceans (3:35)
Right By My Side (3:46)
Party People (3:57)
Until the End of Time (5:18)

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