Favorite Tracks: Empire, Who You Know, Slow Down, Stranger, Save Me, Fly, Oceans, Right By My Side, Party People, Until The End of Time.
(May it be noted that choosing the favorite tracks were difficult to narrow down to 3-5 songs, it simply was not possible for me. Lets continue.)
‘Empire’, by Derek Minor released less than two years from his last album ‘Minorville’, which released back in September of 2013.
Minorville was an album I was very pleased with, everything from the album cover to the theme of Minorville made it to be a very complete album. With ‘Empire’ Derek takes the route of challenging us with the question, what kind of empire are we building here on earth, God’s empire or our own? He addresses the authenticity of being a believer while also talking about the struggles of taking on this role. It is not easy, but God’s Empire gives us the hope we need to strive for it.
With the “Intro” song Derek Minor expresses what is on his mind and heart about being from Reach Records to now being with RMG and more. The intro really grabs the attention and sets a sonic expectation for the album.
But deep inside I wish sometimes the conversation pass me / and the debates about whos better, you Lecrae or Andy
/ So I just deal that we can change your life today, i’m no little mermaid I won’t let you take my voice away…/ They promise you the world but don’t deliver like its Sunday. – Derek Minor
There are two songs titled ‘Babel’ 1 & 2. Babel, in biblical terms, is the Tower of Babel where the people from the city built this tower in order to “reach” heaven. This obviously did not succeed and this was due to the confusion of their language due to their sins. These songs are confessions and cries to the Lord, the song makes you reflect and ponder upon who God is. His mercy and love for us is free with no strings attached. There is nothing we can do to achieve God’s love. Babel is a reminder that we can’t work our way to Heaven but Heaven come to us, through Christ. With the understanding of the Empire theme these songs make a great addition to the album.
The unique thing about this album is its diversity in the sonic perspective. For example, if you were to listen to the song Fly Ft. Colton Dixon and then listen to Party People Ft. Social Club you would have no idea it was the same album. Some may think this wide range of production doesn’t work with an album. I tend to agree for the most part, though the production allowed for Derek to express his message in each song to its ability. The album fits well for an ear that appreciates a slower production with a voice like Anthony Evans Jr.. but that can also appreciate a hard hitting sound from a song like Slow Down. The album brings the best of both worlds that allows a wider range for an audience appeal to it.
Be prepared to be challenged spiritually, to being confronted with being authentic, and a renewed spirit to live out our faith to ultimately build HIS Empire. Derek brings all of this without losing the feel of being a Hip Hop album.
Purchase the album on iTunes – Empire