In addition to being a skilled rapper, producer and co-CEO of his Reflection Music Group label, Derek Minor uses his platform to entertain and inspire. His 2016 album Reflection yielded a career high with its song “Change the World” featuring Hollyn that topped Billboard’s Hot AC/CHR chart for four weeks, making him the first hip hop artist to accomplish this feat. His follow up project, Your Soul Must Fly, continues to build momentum for his mission.
Born Derek Johnson, Jr., the Nashville-based artist describes Your Soul Must Fly as a soundtrack for dreamers, offering seven pulsating songs that document the evolution of setting, pursuing and accomplishing goals while simultaneously displaying his cutting-edge skills as a producer and lyricist. The project opens with the explosive “Launch Pad” where Minor asserts his plans to set it off. The intensity increases on “Take Off,” a ferocious teaming with Ty Brasel, Canon and KB as well as the anthemic lead single “Astronaut” with Reflection Music Group artists Deraj and Byron Juane. “Anti-Gravity” stresses Minor’s determination to succeed, and the futuristic “Jumpin” addresses the hurdles along the road to success. “Level” with Lil Bre and Byron Juane dismisses detractors and the set closes with the powerful and reflective title track, produced by Grammy Award-winning STREETRUNNER whose credits include Lil Wayne, Fat Joe and Meek Mill..
“I wanted people to see the introspection of a person who has achieved a lot of their dreams,” Minor says. He carefully selected his collaborators to help him accomplish his goal. “I would make the records and I would say, ‘Who would sound great on this?’” he says about the guest rappers, and he took a similar approach when securing producers Juice Bangers, OB, Just Famous, Young Sidechain, Christian Seager and STREETRUNNER. “I wanted people I felt were able to capture that high energy,” he adds.
The success of Reflection encouraged Minor to continue following his instincts. “I didn’t have any expectations when I made Reflection,” he says about the album that features BJ the Chicago Kid and Chrisette Michele. “I”m at a place where I just want to make great music. It’s always awesome when you make good music and people affirm that music. The success of Reflection made me say, ‘OK, let me give my base even more of what’s in my brain.’”
Boasting a roster that includes respected acts Canon, Tony Tillman and Deraj, Reflection Music Group launched a new division Amplify that provides marketing support to established independent artists Konata Small and Reconcile. RMG has also partnered with leading distribution company Empire, known for its success with releases for Kendrick Lamar, Fat Joe and Anderson .Paak, among others. “Empire has been really supportive,” Minor says. “They set big goals, they have a solid team, and that’s what I love most about them.”
Minor has been commanding respect in hip hop circles since he made his debut in 2008 with The Blackout as Pro, his former moniker. After the release of his 2010 album Redemption, he partnered with Lecrae’s Reach Records for his 2011 and 2013 sets, Dying to Live and Minorville, the latter debuted at No. 6 on Billboard’s Top Rap Albums chart. His last two projects, 2015’s Empire and 2016’s Reflection, were released in partnership with Entertainment One and peaked at No. 6 and No. 5, respectively, on the Top Rap Albums chart. He has additionally released six mixtapes.
Minor, who has a bachelor’s degree in Record Industry Management from Middle Tennessee University, wrote and produced his first song when he was 12. His influences include his late father, who was a jazz musician, his mother, Tupac, DMX, Kanye West and Curtis Mayfield.
The recipient of numerous awards, Minor received a Grammy for his production contributions to Lecrae’s Gravity album, received a GMA Dove Award for Rap/Hip Hop Album of the Year for his Minorville album, and Stellar Awards for Rap Hip Hop Gospel CD of the Year for Empire and his production work on Lecrae’s Anomaly album.
Minor’s recent string of successful concert tours include Winter Jam, Big Church Night Out, the Rock and Worship Roadshow, and From Now Until Forever.
With his latest release, Your Soul Must Fly, Minor is determined to make an impact. “It’s about positivity and lifting up our community and our society,” he says. “What I want to do with this project is make people feel like they have wings.”