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Empire
     

Empire

by Derek Minor
 
Empire is Derek Minor (formely PRo)'s independent debut album on his Reach Records label. While it chronologically follows 2013's smash Minorville on Reach, it's a much more musically and sonically ambitious endeavor. A wide range of collaborators is featured, including Traneshia

Overview

Empire is Derek Minor (formely PRo)'s independent debut album on his Reach Records label. While it chronologically follows 2013's smash Minorville on Reach, it's a much more musically and sonically ambitious endeavor. A wide range of collaborators is featured, including Traneshia, Tedashii, Lecrae, Canon, Colton Dixon, Deraj & Nobigdyl, and the producers -- Black Knight, Street Symphony, Gawvi, and Dirty Rice -- are all heavy hitters. The set's "Intro" juxtaposes Eastern Christian plainchant against military chants and tense, brooding, cinematic soundscapes. On the title track, Minor reveals the continual influence of Kanye West but turns it back on itself. Using the same samples as West's "Power," Minor employs it to an entirely different end: where West boasted about his own prowess, Minor lays all the credit on God. The sound here is simply epic. Beats are created from layered harmonic chants -- male and female -- that could be used in theatrical productions (check "Who You Know") and the effect is ingenious. Minor's message continually reflects notions of political, cultural, and economic "empire" when contrasted with the creator's. The idea is stated over and over again in various guises throughout these tracks; fine examples also lie in "Kingdom Come" and the banging "Slow Down." "Stranger" is one of the set's most powerful cuts. Minor (with excellent vocal help from Roslyn Welch) indicts the Christian church when it judges those trapped in addiction, street life, violence, and the struggle for basic survival. The gorgeous Sephardic violin solo that plays like a lamentation through Welch's repetition of the phrase "Oh, I'm hurting" is deeply moving. "Oceans," with Move Aside, has a lovely Caribbean vibe thanks to its liquid guitars and fat, cruising 4/4. The lyric, however, reflects the longing for deliverance from the grind of everyday life. The spooky electro tinge in "Right by My Side," and its syncopated synth rhythms, belie a lyric that initially seems out of place on this album -- but listen a little closer and it fits the seam perfectly. "The Party People," which could be played on any FM hip-hop station, has terrific production but it's the only place where Minor's lyrics fall short due to clichés used early on. That small misstep aside, Empire is massive: it's creative, expansive, and expertly sequenced. No matter what your spiritual predilection, there is much to enjoy here. Minor is not only a great rapper, but an excellent conceptual thinker. This is CCHH at its best.

Product Details

Release Date:
01/27/2015
Label:
Ent. One Music
UPC:
0099923946120
catalogNumber:
9461
Rank:
62267

Related Subjects

Tracks

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Derek Minor   Primary Artist,Bass
Michael Hawkins   Piano
Stephen Keech   Guitar
Steve Means   Guitar
Adrian Taylor   Bass
Mel Washington   Vocals
Phil Hughley   Guitar
Danika Hawkins   Strings,Vocals
Tone Jonez   Piano
Rachel Kate   Vocals
Camille Faulkner   Vocals,Voiceover
Greg Breal   Vocals
Stephanie Lauren   Vocals

Technical Credits

Martin Santiago   Composer
Black Knight   Producer
Brad Cooper   Composer,Engineer
Michael Boykin   Engineer
Chad Jones   Composer
George Ramirez   Composer
Jared Foster   Vocal Arrangements
Tedashii Anderson   Composer,Engineer
Gabriel Azucena   Composer
Lecrae Moore   Composer
Chris Mackey   Composer
G-Roc   Producer
Fernando Miranda   Composer
Justin Paul   Composer
Lenny Wee   Engineer
Jared Wells   Composer,Engineer
Mel Washington   Composer
Derek Johnson   Composer,Engineer
Dirty Rice   Producer
Tyshane Thompson   Composer,Producer
Colton Dixon   Composer
Brandon Peavy   Composer,Engineer
Joshua Scruggs   Composer
SykSense   Producer
Derek Minor   Producer,Engineer,Vocal Arrangements,String Arrangements,Additional Production
Dylan Phillips   Composer
Gawvi   Producer
Traneshia "Truth" Chiles   Composer,Vocal Arrangements
Aaron McCain   Composer,Engineer
Danika Hawkins   Engineer,String Arrangements
Krishon Gaines   Composer
BandPlay   Producer
Rachel Kate   Composer
Biz Morris   Engineer
Toney Frazier   Composer
Roslyn Welch   Composer
Jonny Grande   Producer

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