Derek Minor

The appeal of southern Hip Hop has long been country vernacular over crunk beats that keep heads bangin’ and bodies movin’. While the head bangers and dance anthems haven’t ceased, in recent years, authentic Hip Hop and true lyricism have taken a back seat to commercial success. In steps Pro; while not on a mission to resurrect real southern Hip Hop--having been redeemed and commissioned to influence the culture--Pro certainly brings a nostalgia for what was and a hope for what is to come, as part of a greater movement infiltrating Hip Hop with a powerful message.

Born Derek Johnson Jr. in Pontiac, MI, Pro relocated to Tennessee with his mom at a young age, which meant more distance between him and an already detached father. After moving, Pro and his new stepfather’s relationship was plagued by an ever-growing tension, as he had grown accustomed to being the man of the house and helping to raise his younger sister. Beyond that, he knew his step-dad was consuming drugs while Pro’s strict, devoutly Christian mother was juggling a rigorous work schedule and life at home. As Pro watched her struggle, he decided that, once he could, he would save money and become rich through education or music.

Music had always been a part of his environment growing up, as Gospel songs flooded the house and his mom sung in the choir and around the city. But it was Pro’s dad, a jazz musician, who would supply him with the inspiration to actually pursue a career in music. When Pro was 12, on a summer visit to his dad’s house, he started rapping about God and adolescence over beats his dad produced with his new ASR-10. That summer, he was also introduced to DJ Quick and 2pac and headed home with a stack of tapes filled with different beats--the stage had been set.

After a visit to Middle Tennessee State University at 15, Pro was convinced that he wanted to enroll in the music program there and someday make his ambitions a reality. His mom joined the cause by buying him his own production equipment; by the time he entered college, he was in a rap duo and had gotten a job to pay for studio time. In relentless pursuit of his dream, Pro recalls using a bunk bed as a mic stand before turning 21 and signing a record deal with an independent label. While on the label, he released a mix tape, but the company folded and life began taking a morbid turn. Removed from the dos and don’ts of his strict home, Pro reveled in the forbidden. Music, women and money became idols in his life until “the season of death” woke him up.

Within a short time span, Pro lost his grandfather, grandmother and godmother. As a result, he began to understand that life was fleeting; growing weary, he cried out to God and surrendered his life and talents. Some time later, after forming Reflection Music Group with his friend Doc Watson, he released his debut album The Black Out, on which he wrestled with being East Coast or Southern; and cocky, yet still Christian. The album wasn’t received well within Christian circles, so Pro took a break from rapping long enough to be challenged and influenced by two guys he met at his new church. “Lecrae and BJ challenged me to let the Gospel truly affect my heart,” he recalls, and as he did, his perspectives and artistic style were completely changed.

Since then, Pro has collaborated on several noteworthy projects and released PSA, a mix tape he calls his first full-length installment of mature Christian music; Redemption; and PSA Vol. 2. His second album, Redemption, debuted at No. 3 on the iTunes Gospel chart and No.8 on Billboard Gospel, while also topping other mainstream and Gospel charts. With the success of his sophomore album and the growing popularity of tracks he has either produced or been featured on, Pro has established a unique presence in CHH. As the opening act for the “Unashamed Tour” in 2010, Pro won over audiences around the country with his amplifying performances and gritty lyrics. His latest release, PSA Vol. 2, is the second installment in an ongoing series of topically diverse, sonically evolving and authentically Hip Hop music that also introduces listeners to upcoming Reflection artists.

A self-described blue-collar artist, Pro embraces his ability to get listeners amped, but ultimately, he wants them to feel and be inspired to pursue something greater than themselves. He currently resides in Nashville, TN where he is an active member of Fellowship Bible Church along with his wife. And while his popularity grows with each release, past experiences have taught him that, “Peace is more important than anything,” so his enduring ambition and motivation to continue making quality music is simply to glorify God with his life.

Uncle Reece

Maurice Hicks (Uncle Reece) was born in Savannah Georgia on February 14th in 1984. From the beginning Uncle Reece's Life was filled with music of all types. His mother was singer and was in love with music while Uncle Reece 's father was in the military. Being that He traveled to a new setting every two years and sometimes even different continent Uncle Reece was exposed to many different types of musical interest. This is one of the reasons why His music is so diverse.

In 1998 Uncle Reece moved for the last time in His child hood after His father retired. The city that his family chose was Jacksonville Florida. While at a friend's house, who was a local Disk Jockey, at the age of 17, that Uncle Reece picked up the microphone and rocked it for the first time. No practice or experience in the past. Rapping was just something that came natural. Uncle Reece quickly became known for his free-styling and musical ability through the city of Jacksonville.

In the spring of 2004 Uncle Reece met a two people that were relentless about his personal relationship with Christ. After viewing the commitment that they made to Christ Uncle Reece immediately changed teams. The change was so rapid that many people didn't believe it at first. Uncle Reece began speaking at local schools about abstinence and using his God given musical abilities to reach young people all over Jacksonville. In 2007 Uncle Reece decided to take it to the next Level when He started WITHOUTJESUSISUCK.COM. Uncle Reece and his Parter designed a shirt with a simple Message "Without Jesus I Suck". Since 2007 this simple message has been seen on CNN, FOXNews, BET and on many major artists. Through the shirt and the music Uncle Reece has assisted with over 10,000 people coming to know the Lord!

Uncle Reece credits all of his success to God the father who is Lord over His life.

Don’t let the dark shades and black beard fool you. Brinson is not trying to disguise anything. In fact, he’s trying to do the opposite – share the innermost parts of himself through hip hop.

Such transparency often manifests itself in songs about his love for Jesus and those in his community. It will also be revealed in heart-gripping tales like “Shoulda Told ‘Em” or “Breaking Down” where the author exposes his regrets and honest emotions.

But there’s raw energy in his rhymes too. Brinson is not afraid to make bold statements (“Don’t Rap No More”) or simply share the joy of a life that has been made pure and free in the sight of the Savior.

His passions are backed by over a decade of experience and training as an ordained minister and studies in the renowned Music Business Program at Belmont University in Nashville, TN. He is a 2011 graduate of the SOMMET Ministry School, has traveled and performed his music on international stages, and was recognized as an Honoree at Atlanta’s Holy Hip Hop Awards.

It all led to his founding of GodChaserz Entertainment (GCE) which has since released over 20 Christ-centered hip hop albums by a roster of artists designed to inspire, uplift, and entertain. The works of Brinson and his GCE family have been covered by various media outlets including ESPN.com, NPR, MTV, S.O.U.L. Magazine, DaSouth.com, The Houston Chronicle, The Wade-O Radio Show and Rapzilla.com.

In 2012, the company partnered with Syntax Distribution for the release of his No Other Heroes album and saw videos for their releases featured on national television stations such as JCTV, GMC, and WayTV.

In short, Brinson is a rapper less concerned with outside appearances than with the positive change that can occur underneath

Jacksonville-based emcee Rkitect began honing his craft alongside his partner in rhyme, 2nd Wind, and their crew of emcees who composed the Elementz. He has since gone solo, and crafted a manifesto of his own that aims to provide a comprehensive statement that speaks for hip-hop purists and those who desire greater quality in their rap music. He hopes it has an impact that reaches far beyond his pen and pad.

From a young age, Julio Agosto, later known as “Rkitect”, knew he was different. While most young people his age were lost in adolescence, Rkitect began to discover his true calling as a writer, music producer, and hip-hop artist. In late 1999, at the age of 19, Rkitect met “Killa Al”, an experienced and well 
respected underground hip-hop artist. The two instantly became a unit and eventually formed the super-group “Elementz”, and the journey began.

Paying dues as an opening act while relentlessly recording their freshman debut soon paid off. Gaining international acclaim for their debut the Manhattan Project in late 2003, Elementz hit the ground running after signing a deal with Shabach Entertainment and Diamante Distribution. CrossRythms Magazine in the U.K. said: 
“Julio and Al spin a very distinctive and intense East Coast style that’s often sombre yet combining a dynamic spiritual warfare battle vibe. This is hard hitting “take no prisoners” stuff where (unusually) obvious thought has gone into the variety and mix of atmospheric hooks and sensitive beats.”

Elementz toured, recorded, and wrote music together for almost a decade. Rkitect knew that even though his group was gaining success, God had called him for something else, something greater. In 2008, Rkitect reinvented himself. He abandoned conventional methods and distanced himself from the corporate music agenda adopting a revolutionary mind set. Diving head first into the underground hip-hop scene, Rkitect established himself as a formidable presence among his peers. Gaining the moniker “subterranean super soldier”, Rkitect gained praise from the true hip hop purists from across the globe. From Japan to Germany, forums and blogs surfaced about the lyricist that has unfastened the stigma of the faith-based artist. Now a new voice was reviewing Rkitect’s work, the people! Although considered among the best hip-hop albums of 2009 and best 5 albums in the first half of 2009 by the bloggers of Nationofhiphop.net, Rkitect remains humble and optimistic. Using his past as a weapon and aiming it at the future, Rkitect finds solace in his new calling, Revolution!

$8.00 - $12.00

Tickets Available at the Door

STANDING ROOM ONLY (with limited seating available)-NO LARGE BAGS-NO SMOKING IN VENUE-NO RE-ENTRY. Sound at the Murray Hill Theatre provided by AVL Productions www.avlproductions.com

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Derek Minor with Uncle Reece, Brinson, Rkitect

Friday, September 27 · Doors 7:00 PM / Show 8:00 PM at Murray Hill Theatre

Tickets Available at the Door