What is the ultimate trap for us all?
One of the prominent figures on the flourishing Christian hip-hop scene is Derek Minor.
Derek’s flow on the latest xRhythms radio hit, the single 'Only', clearly conveys the lifestyle of this rapper, producer, actor and record label owner.
I been trusting God and him only.
“I been trusting God and him only/I break bread with squad members only/If a phoney don’t approach me I keep real around me/Only trust in God and him.”
Derek’s real name is Derek Lawrence Johnson Jr. he was born in Michigan and as a child relocated to Texas with his mother.
Derek began writing and rapping at a young age.
Life wasn’t easy for Derek. His mother was a committed Christian, but his stepfather turned out to be a drug dealer. Derek began writing and rapping at a young age and by 15 he had enrolled in the music programme at Middle Tennessee State university.
By 2010 he had released the album ‘Redemption’ under the name Pro. It made number eight on the Billboard Top Gospel Albums chart and number 31 on the Top Christian Albums chart.
Derek’s label Reflection Music Group (RMG) was formed with a business partner and in 2011. Pro signed a deal between RMG and the big company in Christian hip-hop, Reach Records.
His album ‘Minorville’ won a Dove award.
By 2014, that deal had resulted in major Christian music hits and the single 'Dear Mr Christian (ft Dee-1 and Lecrae)' being nominated for a Dove Award. The album from which the single sprang from, ‘Minorville’, went one stage further and won the award.
In the same year, the rapper, now calling himself Derek Minor, and RMG left Reach. Derek said, “I’ve grown as on artist, business owner and a man. The beauty of the relationship we’ve established is that business wasn’t its primary agenda and I’m excited to see what the future holds for both RMG and Reach.”
Derek in the public eye.
Since then, a stream of albums, mixtapes, and singles, several of which have been in the charts, have kept Derek well and truly in the public eye.
In 2018, Minor began releasing an ambitious four-part project called the ‘Up And Away’ series. In December 2019 he spoke to the Rapzilla website about the third album in the series, ‘The Trap’, and some of the themes it contains such as drug abuse.
"Most [rappers] are glorifying the idea of ‘I came from this, I beat this’. So when you hear rappers say ‘I got gold, I got chains,’ and etc. etc., usually people think those are super shallow individuals, and some are. But often times it’s almost like their Rocky story...
I wanted to talk about the other side of it [rappers' lives].
“I wanted to take that idea and I wanted to talk about the other side of it, which is usually for the people that don’t hit the lottery and become the biggest rapper of all time or are professional rappers with trap music."
“But then", he continued, "if we were to zoom out, even more, I wanted to tell the bigger story of – ‘What is the ultimate trap for us all’? The ultimate trap is sin. That’s the trap, which for some of us, is greed... ’ For some people, it’s womanizing, or whatever. Pick your trap; we all have one.
"So I wanted to take that and show the bigger picture of what’s happening in the life of the trap, like the hood trap, and the trap in all of our lives."