For those not familiar with Derek Minor, he has been around for quite a while, formerly known as Pro. The track "Dear Mr. Christian" from 2013's album Minorville originally caught my attention and I'm glad it did. This hip hop veteran has a lot to offer and should no longer be flying under rap fans' radar.
Empire starts off with a nice intro track before hitting listeners with "All Hail The King," featuring labelmate Deraj and Minor's former road manager nobigdyl in a track with a great pace, superb flow, and amazing production, all while hitting in the greatness of our God. "Who You Know" follows suit with that thumping feel in a track about people looking for real believers instead of just blowing off Christians. Later on, "Stranger" is a call to Christians to love one another and to not be judgmental, and both are great messages for all to hear. Other sold tracks are "Empire," "Slow Down," and "Kingdom Come."
The album is filled with hip hop elements blended nicely with R&B undertones, displayed in tracks, such as "Last Forever" and "Right By My Side," which fit nicely together. However, there are two tracks that stand out for stepping outside of that hip hop box, and both come out wonderfully. "Fly," featuring Colton Dixon, showcases two different talents doing what each does well, and "Oceans" features Move Aside in a beautiful track that takes me straight to dreams of Hawaiian beaches. Finally, the absolute best collaboration here is Minor and Social Club on "Party People," which comes out perfectly and I suspect will be played at many house parties to come.
It is truly hard to find flaws on Empire, but if I had to be nitpicky, I could say I am not in love with the "Babel" interludes, or that not every track is absolutely stellar. Overall, however, there isn't really anything bad here at all. The beats are amazing, the rapping flows wonderfully, and there's an abundance of great guest spots. All rap fans need to grab this album as it has the potential to be the best hip hop album in what is gearing up to be a great year for hip hop music.- 1/29/15, written by Kevin Hoskins of Jesusfreakhideout.com
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