On discovering love for music
For me, it started in my dad’s basement. I was 12 years old and he used to record these hood dudes around the way so they were rapping and one day it was this freestyle cypher thing and I was like man I’m going to try this out, it probably was the worst rap u ever heard in your life but, my dad was so proud he was like ,‘my son killing all of y’all!’
His early hustle
Fast-forward in high school I got an 8 track recorder. I used to make beats and record wack albums and put em out in the hallways. I was kind of known as the rapper dude. Then I visited Middle Texas State University and they had a music business program. I joined and graduated from there bachelor’s degree in music business and really took my music thing from there. Started putting out albums, the indie grind, constantly doing music all the time until I moved and that’s where I met Reach Records, Lecrae and Lecrae kind of took me under his wing…the rest is history.
Lesson learned since signing
What I learned the most is that when you’re an artist and you do music from a Christian perspective there’s a bigger requirement that’s on you. Most guys just kind of get on the mic and if it sounds good you just kind of say whatever you want. With me I have to think about what is this going to do for the people listening, is it going to be something that’s beneficial for them or is going to stir up useless controversy and get people arguing.
I never shy away from controversy, I think some stuff needs to be talked about, especially with Christians. A lot of times we kind of want to shy away from it and not say some of the things that need to be said. I’m not necessarily that guy but if we’re going to talk about controversy let’s talk about something what will be beneficial in the end. Like Trayvon martin and race in America, I don’t have a problem talking about that even though its controversial, my thing is if I’m going to talk about something controversial it has to matter. There has to be an end goal which is I want you to think about how we can make this life better and go further rather than just oh I was going to say something stupid so you can pay attention to me.
Kendrick Lamar album of the year
That was a great album because it had social commentary on there he at least was being honest he wasn’t painting his picture as super thug. It was just a normal kid living life in his hood where he grew up at.
Leaving a mark in the industry
My goal is not to just be looked at as an amazing entertainer. I want to add value to the music industry so that when I leave people are like dang man in miss that dude he made me think about this in a different way or that in a different way. So, I think that’s kind of where Reach does a good job allowing us to see that its more than just music….1-1-6 it’s a movement that’s not about us.
Gearing up for “Minorville” release
Imagine you’re going to a city, right now I’m in NYC, so if you going to take me to NY you’re going to take me to all of the coolest places in NY Statue of Liberty, Madison Square Garden, Carmines, get a good NY slice, Broadway…I’m going to see all of the best parts of NY while I’m out here so that I get to experience that and say that’s dope. Then let’s say I move to NY, I get to see places that are maybe not as nice as the places I saw while I was visiting.
The goal with ‘Minorville’ is to bring you to a city that’s me. I want to bring you to me I don’t want to just give you a tour like ‘oh yea I’m going to take you to the good parts of who Derek Minor is’. I’m going to take you to all the parts and be very transparent. Were all human, the goal is to put out an album where we can all come to the table and just say this is my issues this is what’s real.
There was a time where music was more about telling a story but now it’s a lot about selling an image. If I’m going to have a brand I want my brand to be honest and real”
Name change from Pro to Derek Minor
The reason I changed my name from Pro is –ha! it’s funny – I was playing basketball and I dunked on somebody so hard that when I came down I tore my achillies tendon. Well, I didn’t really dunk on nobody I was running down the court. Nevertheless, my achillies got torn and it had me just sitting down thinking about my brand and if people looked at my old brand ‘Pro’ they’d be like, ‘Who is this guy? Oh he’s the Christian dude that makes street hood music’. I’m like ah that’s not necessarily the totality of my brand. So I went through a whole brand change I wanted a brand that’s more transparent, honest and real. I think my album Minorville is a reflection of the new brand.
On ‘Dear Mr. Christian’
I was in the studio with Hit Academy going through beat after beat after beat. Street Symphony hit me up like you know D-1 is in town and I didn’t even know this dude was in town so I hit him up and we just came to the studio and started vibing. It was just really a process, put the beat on and start free styling. We made the ‘Dear Mr. Christian’ beat and I was like, ‘yo I have this crazy concept! I was like Ima write from the perspective of someone that’s in the porn industry and rap from the perspective and tell their story. A lot of the time some of the people in the most naughty areas like drug dealers , all of that, we don’t even take them into consideration somebody might be a drug dealer but you don’t know what got them from point A to point b and that there’s layers to people. You can’t just categorize somebody by their stand or by their issues, its layers. Especially Christians, we are notorious for judging and categorizing people real quick, so what I wanted to do was write a song from their perspective and somewhat tell their story, cuz I know D-boys, I know girls that people will look at and say she this, she’s a whore… I’m like nah she’s not that that’s not who she is in her totality, there’s more to her than that.
If we’re going to be Christian and God said to love people in spite of because he loved us in spite of the only way we can do that is if we know who those people are and get to know them rather than just writing them off by their tags or their stigmas.
Message behind “Gimmie”
I was watching this dude preach this sermon about this magic spring water and when you get it sprinkle it on your head and God is going to bless you with millions of dollars. I’m seeing all these people in the crowd looking for hope, looking for a reason to live. Then I’m on Youtube and their doing an expose on fake preachers who are hustlers and the same magic spring water dude was on there getting exposed.
Everybody grew up and knew that one church not to go to because you know what he’s going to preach about ‘give me money, give me money’…but the crazy thing about it is he’s not much different, than the average person a lot of us want endless success, we don’t know when enough is enough. Look at America everything is always in excess, big cars, SUVS, 59 inch rims, 15 speakers in the back and we can just have one we have to have 2 or 3 of em. I went to LA and saw a house that had 76 rooms! How many children y’all got!? What are you going to do with 76 rooms, enough is never enough we want more power, more money, more cars more clothes, & I’m not exempt. The last verse is pretty much about myself. I realize I have everything that I need God had given me a great family, I got my health and I have people that love me and most of all I got go, that's the most important thing.
Expectations for new album
I don’t want them to just say ah man dude is a Christian he talk about some real stuff I want em to say this dude is a heck of an artist he’s a dope artist and at the same time I rock with his message. I want to make an album that connects. I want to make that album that you put on when you want to think I want you to feel me on this record.
Inspiration for ‘Minorville’ tracks
It’s a combo of moments. A lot of artist its no social commentary, a lot of albums it feels like you could just interchange the persons face on the album and we’re still in the same album of people over and over again, I mixed creative and progressive. Looking at the industry in itself, not just mainstream, mainstream and Christian, musically we got to push the envelope and content wise.
Music DM listens to
Majority of what I listen to is jazz, I’ve been on Donald Byrd. Musically one on the albums that really shaped my musical direction is an album by Donald Byrd called ‘A New Perspective’ and it’s a jazz album but he had a choir for the whole album so it’s like this jazz choir fusion situation. It really opened my mind. My album has a lot of live streams in it, we had a choir come in and smash out on a couple records then John Coaltrane, Marvin Gaye, another album I love right now is called “Imagine Dragon”.
Top 5 dead or alive
That’s a hard question to ask that shifts from day to day, I’m from Detroit so I have to say Eminem, this is in no specific order, Jay-Z based off of consistency, 2pac because he revolutionized music in a sense of social commentary he brought to the table he impacted people, if I say Tupac I got to say Biggie. I could put Lauren Hill in there she’s the greatest female MC period, I wish she had 3 or 4 albums.
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