Legends of the Culture: Let’s Talk About Derek Minor (Christian Rap’s Cool Uncle)
We have a lot of good and great people in Christian rap, but few fit the bill of top tier as Derek Minor. So let’s take a look at what makes the artist formerly known as PRo one of the Legends of the Culture.
“Uncle Derek” is a phrase commonly thrown around when referring to Derek and the wisdom he imparts. But this isn’t the weird uncle who you avoid at Christmas or even the casual uncle who’s only there because he married your aunt. Derek is the single uncle who took you out on your birthday to the movies, the park, and for pizza. He’s the one who you got excited for when your parents said he was coming over. You know the type, part older brother, part “I guess they’re an adult,” part best friend.
I say all this to point out that Derek Minor is one of the most special people we have in this space. Not only is he dependable in the music he creates, but he’s dependable as a human and a friend. I’ve heard countless stories of Derek giving advice, calling to check-in, and even dishing out some playful jokes to make sure people are doing alright. He’s done it for me and if you’re an artist reading this, he may have done it for you.
One of the most well-known stories of Derek’s helping hand came in revitalizing a nearly finished KJ-52. After a series of tough years and questioning whether he was still in music ministry, Minor sparked the encouragement that let him push forth even now.
“My career essentially ended.”
…“He was fresh ears, he was someone to bounce music off of. He was able to shape the sound whether he even did the song or not. That’s why it took so long to get it down. It was a growth process for me.”
That’s a tiny part of the story. Read the full one here.
Then of course the most infamous in a good way story, Minor firing nobigdyl. as his road manager because dyl. was too talented. Minor saw the potential in him, and let him free to find that potential. It worked out well. Read some of that story here.
There are stories like this that abound across the scenes in CHH. The thing is, he doesn’t have to at all. While he’s not a megastar of an artist, he’s achieved enough status and success to go and do his own thing but he doesn’t. In spite of his music career as a rapper, producer, label head, husband, and father – he makes time to mentor and be the cool uncle to those who could use that relationship in their life.
People try to sling stones at him for tweets and posts concerning his passions of racial equality, justice, and self-worth through ownership but he doesn’t let that deter the God-given mission that he started with since he got 116 tatted on him.
I wrote these words two years ago after meeting him for the first time:
Derek Minor doesn’t care anymore. He’s a man that is perfectly in focus and feels the tug of God on his purpose. He doesn’t care about what you think of him. He doesn’t care about receiving any awards, accolades, or recognition, and he doesn’t care about the industry’s politics. Derek Minor only cares about YOU. (FULL STORY)
Maybe Derek is like this because Doc Watson took a chance on him all these years ago and believed in Derek and his ability and helped start RMG. Maybe he’s like this because, you know, he’s a good person, and serves the Lord the best he can. Whatever it is, Derek Minor is a legend in the space and this is no fluff piece from me. Read what some people had to say below:
If @thederekminor has ever helped you or inspired you directly or indirectly, like this tweet and tell me how/why.
— Justin Sarachik (@JustinSarachik) January 14, 2021
“he has inspired me by being a positive influence to others & spreading the message & importance of ownership. I’ve tried to reflect and further this message among peers & friends”
“we talk about once a month and it’s never about music. Always about building foundations for the future. That’s my OG”
“The times where I felt like I was fighting alone he showed me that I wasn’t by myself when I saw him speaking on those same things. Some of our recent convos probably changed a lot for me than he knows.”
“Bro has walked me back off the edge many times, helped me find patience for my father, and just gave me a bunch of hard truths that I hate hearing but am glad to receive. I love that foo, I’m better because of him”
“That man is the most humble man we’ve met in this genre! The advice he has given us has been priceless and he didn’t have to work with us, we are just a spec in this space.”
“opened my eyes to racial issues. He can rap frfr but that impact has made me a better person. I owe a lot to you Derek thank you for challenging me to see hard truths”
“From Day 1 He’s been a real one. When I moved to Nashville from the Westcoast he embraced me and my family with nothing but love. Put me on game on how to move in this southern culture. Been friends ever since.”
“Him and his team don’t just talk about wanting to build an ecosystem in this industry or wanting artists to be better. He walks it out by sharing information&helping people grow. I don’t see him out here for himself alone. I see him contributing in various ways to see everyone win.”
These comments go on and on. And notice, for most and even the words I’ve written, it’s not even about his music or the accolades. All of those things are fantastic and make him a titan of the space. However, the thing that elevates him to “Legend” is the way he treats people and the way he fosters relationships.
So forgot whatever you’ve heard or whatever you think you know, because those who know, know. And he said it himself.
“You know, know, know, know, know, know, know it (x2)
I can only be me, I can only be me
I want you to win (I want you to win)
I want you to raise up the trophy
I want to lock arms with all of my dogs
Don’t want to see no one below me
I want to see you be the person you meant to be
I want you to see your potential
Regardless if they all dismiss you
Even when you feel the planet’s against you”
Salute to you king. Here are your flowers.