Artist Spotlight: Derek Minor

Derek Johnson, Jr., better known in the music world as Derek Minor, has made a significant mark in the Christian hip-hop scene. Born on December 16, 1984, in Pontiac, Michigan, Derek Minor, formerly known as PRo, has seamlessly blended his faith and musical talent to create a powerful and inspiring career. His journey from humble beginnings to becoming a celebrated rapper, singer, songwriter, record producer, and entrepreneur is a testament to his dedication and belief in the transformative power of music and faith.

Early Life and Musical Roots

Derek Johnson, Jr. relocated to Middle Tennessee at a young age with his mother, where he grew up in a challenging environment. His relationship with his biological father was distant, and his stepfather's drug use added tension to his home life. However, it was his mother's unwavering faith and involvement in church choirs that provided a musical foundation for young Derek. His father, a jazz musician, also played a pivotal role by introducing him to music production during a summer visit when Derek was 12 years old. This early exposure to music, combined with his experiences and struggles, ignited his passion for using music as a form of expression and healing.

Education and Early Career

Derek's commitment to music was evident when he decided to enroll in the music program at Middle Tennessee State University. His mother supported his dreams by buying him production equipment, and by the time he entered college, Derek was already making waves in the local music scene. He graduated in 2006 with a bachelor's degree in Recording Industry Management, a testament to his dedication and hard work.

Reflection Music Group and Initial Success

In 2008, Derek co-founded Reflection Music Group (RMG) with his friend Doc Watson. His debut album, *The Blackout*, was released the same year and garnered attention for its bold and braggadocious style. However, Derek soon realized that his music needed a deeper focus on faith and spirituality. This realization led to a period of introspection and growth, resulting in the release of his mixtape *PSA* in 2010, which marked the beginning of his mature Christian music journey.

Breakthrough with Reach Records

Derek's career took a significant turn when he signed a joint venture with Reach Records in 2011. Under the name PRo, he released the album *Dying to Live*, which debuted at No. 1 on the Christian Albums chart and No. 66 on the Billboard 200. This success solidified his reputation as a powerful voice in Christian hip-hop. During this period, Derek also joined the Reach Records collective 116 Clique, contributing to their collaborative projects and tours.

Transition to Derek Minor

In 2012, Derek announced a name change from PRo to Derek Minor, a move that symbolized his growth and evolution as an artist. His album *Minorville* debuted at No. 40 on the Billboard 200 and showcased his ability to address personal and social issues through his music. The album's success was a testament to his talent and the impact of his faith-driven message.

Independent Ventures and Continued Success

After fulfilling his contract with Reach Records, Derek Minor embarked on an independent journey, partnering with Entertainment One for distribution. His fifth album, *Empire*, released in 2015, debuted at No. 54 on the Billboard 200 and continued to highlight his unique blend of faith and hip-hop. This was followed by his sixth album, *Reflection*, which further cemented his status in the industry. The single "Change the World" featuring Hollyn reached No. 1 on Billboard's Hot AC/CHR chart, showcasing his ability to create music that resonates deeply with listeners.

Expanding Horizons: Film, Television, and Beyond

Derek Minor's talents extend beyond music. He has ventured into film and television, creating web series like "Dying to Live" and short documentaries such as *Redemption* and *Welcome to the Family*. His creativity also led him to feature in the video game *Altered Pro*, further showcasing his versatility as an artist.

Legacy and Influence

Derek Minor's journey from a challenging childhood to becoming a celebrated artist and entrepreneur is a testament to the power of faith and perseverance. His music, rooted in his Christian beliefs, has inspired countless listeners and brought attention to important social issues. By co-founding Reflection Music Group and collaborating with artists across genres, Derek has created a platform that amplifies voices and promotes positive change.

In a career spanning over a decade, Derek Minor has released numerous albums and mixtapes, each reflecting his growth as an artist and his commitment to his faith. His ability to blend powerful lyrics with impactful beats has earned him a dedicated following and critical acclaim.

As Derek Minor continues to evolve and expand his horizons, his influence on the Christian hip-hop scene remains undeniable. His journey serves as an inspiration to aspiring artists and a reminder of the transformative power of music and faith. With each new project, Derek Minor continues to make his mark, leaving a lasting legacy that goes beyond music to touch the hearts and souls of his listeners.

Visit Derek's official website at to shop, listen, and learn more.