Reach Records (September 10, 2013)
Review by LaRosa Johnson
Buy this album: SphereofhiphopStore.com
Ever since he dropped his debut album The Blackout, PRo has been making noise in the Christian hip-hop scene. Coming into the genre relatively unknown, he quickly got hooked up with Lecrae and eventually became a member of the Reach Records roster of emcees. His first Reach release, Dying to Live, showed off the great talent that PRo possessed. Now, going by the stage name Derek Minor, the man of the hour is back with his sophomore Reach Records release aptly titled Minorville.
What is Minorville all about? It’s pretty easy to figure out, just picture Any City, USA and you’re in Minorville. Minorville is just like your city or town, and no matter where you go in this world people are facing the same issues and are looking for a solution to their problems. Everywhere you turn, everyone is crying “In God We Trust” (IGWT) and that we’re supposed to be one nation under God, but it seems that every time you turn on the news there’s something showing how fallen this world is. Not only that, but you’ve got preachers encouraging people to say “Gimmie” the American dream and a bank full of money. Of course, there are also those people out there whose sole job on this earth is to bring other people down because of their own issues (Hot Air Balloon). Doesn’t that sound like your town? I know it sure sounds like mine. That’s Minorville in a nutshell. Now, if you lived in Minorville, you’d probably think that there’s no hope; but, that’s the flip side to this album. Derek Minor gives hope to the listener, letting them know that no matter their situation there’s hope to be found in Jesus Christ. While many of the songs may paint a sad picture of this world, if you listen long enough, you can see the silver lining.
Listening to Minorville, you cannot help but walk away impressed with the level of talent that Derek displays. From top to bottom it’s hard to find any glaring flaws, unless you really want to start nitpicking. Like any other Reach Records release these days, the production and sound are stellar. This thing just sounds clean and the production keeps your head nodding. Lyrically, Derek Minor is at the top of his game, dropping bars and word play that make his craft look like child’s play; he may as well be the LeBron James to whoever’s Darko Milicic. What’s probably most impressive is the comfort he shows flexing different styles, from the laid back (Love You Better) to something more aggressive like “Ready, Set, Go.”
While Lecrae may be the face of Reach Records, Derek Minor very well may be the most raw talent of the entire roster. Minorville proves this without question. He offers up a concept album that is unique but still fits right into the typical Reach mold, which is a feat in and of itself; and then takes that concept and builds a very cohesive album around it that sounds amazing. You should have no problem putting this album on and listening to it from start to finish, that’s how good it is. Derek Minor definitely has a winner here.