My Rating: Add To My Playlist (4.2/5)
Tennessee-raised rap and hip hop artist Derek Minor brings God’s Word and his own rhythmic style to the CCM scene with his most recent album, Reflection. Prior to the debut of this album, Minor has received both Dove and Grammy Award nominations for his previous work and has collaborated with other well-known artists such as Lecrae, Andy Mineo, and Colton Dixon. Released by Reflection Music Group, the 14-track album Reflection gives listeners a mix of rap and hip hop anthems, including several unique collaborations with other artists.
The album kicks off with “Look At Me Now,” giving listeners a fresh taste of Minor’s sound and vibe. The track begins with an ominous repeating phrase on piano, soon joined by Minor’s rapped lyrics and the beat drop, as Minor explains how our lives can be transformed by God, despite the trials of this world. Also composed with his signature style, the tracks “Believe It” and “Hold Up” showcase Minor’s passionate and powerful spoken rhythm, while the latter contains a unique bongo drum-like sound that is layered throughout the tune.
At times, Minor’s crafted lyrics have a special ability of painting or describing situations we may face as Christians in a more tangible or visual way. In “Good Enough,” a collaboration with artist Camille Faulkner, Minor encourages us to seek our meaning, purpose, and worth from God instead of from those around us. When describing those distractions, Minor raps, “I've been on a mission trying to dodge a villain / Telling me that it's a better me and I can't get him.” We are dissuaded from trying to impress or prove ourselves to those that surround us with negativity when Minor raps, “You can shine your light all day but they gonna only see the shadow.” Similarly in “Things Fall Apart,” Minor describes the trials and struggles that trap us when we try to take life and future plans into our own hands. Minor proclaims that when it seems like everything in life is falling apart, that’s when he calls on God. He expresses this by rapping, “Things fall apart, things fall apart / My faith in you, you are the glue / That's who you are.” Later, he crafts another visual while saying, “That's when I can't swim / I'm thinking about my mistakes / That's when you flood in / And then I'm swept away (by your love).”
“Change The World,” performed in collaboration with artist Hollyn, was inspired by Minor’s experience on a mission trip to Haiti with the Hands & Feet Project, an organization aiming to provide God-centered care and solutions to help fight the orphan crisis in Haiti. Hollyn begins the track alongside piano, soon built up with a clapping beat. Her vocals trade off to Minor’s as he takes the verse, which is alternatively accompanied by tribal-like percussion and a chanting choir. The two artists perform another similar set of verse and chorus in their two distinct styles before joining together in voice and morphing these two styles into one full-bodied realization of the track. About the song, Minor shares, “I just wrote this song as an anthem, hopefully for people to create change. I think in today's climate around the world, we have forgotten that our differences are beautiful. That God made each of us unique and that makes our world a better place. I think ‘Change The World’ speaks to that yearning inside for all of us to be heard and accepted with love.”
Each track on Reflection contains Minor’s personal sound and style while also boasting something unique for the listener to take away. Minor’s lyrical skill and storytelling weave a cohesive thread of truth found throughout the entire album. There’s no doubt about Minor’s talent and place along the CCM horizon, and we’re looking forward to both his next project and future collaborations.