First off, I promise that this isn’t a clickbait title but rather something interesting that I have noticed.
During the heyday of Reach Records in the recent ‘golden age’ of CHH filled with things such as the annual Unashamed Tour, Lecrae on the verge of crossing over, a rumored Andy Mineo/KB/Trip Lee album in the works (that sadly never came to be), names such as Thi’sl and Propaganda being introduced to fans of the 116, and comment sections that had not been extremely toxic yet, were a group that was incorrectly labeled as an offshoot label called Reflection Music Group aka RMG.
RMG is a label that started between Doc Watson and Derek Minor (fka Pro). Being comprised historically of active and inactive artists from Deraj to Chad Jones and everyone inbetween, talent-wise, they were up there with the best of the best in the sub-culture’s storied history (which makes a 2nd RMG album as unknowingly wanted as the above trio’s album). The thing that became a double-edged sword was the signing of Derek Minor to Reach’s roster and Canon’s association to Lecrae as his tour hypeman.
The benefit of that association is that with the biggest label associated with CHH is the fanbase that would eventually carry over as well as the opportunities that would come with it. As mentioned earlier, Reach Records’ annual Unashamed Tour was used as a platform to showcase newer acts (such as Thi’sl) and reestablish long-time artists (such as Propaganda) to the current demographic. Derek Minor had this benefit after being brought on initially from his MTSU days while Canon had the chance to be exposed to many potential fans at conferences and festivals per Lecrae.
The detriment that came with this association was that when Derek left the label to be exclusive to RMG, fans assumed that it was a downgrade and that it was also a reflection of his following album ‘Empire’. With Canon, its not until recently that it seems that his music is coming to his own as an artist simply because most fans associated him as the fast-rapping artist and nothing more. With the less known artist on the roster, comparisons arose quickly such as B.Cooper being RMG’s answer to Reach’s Andy Mineo (which does a disservice to the artistry of B.Cooper).
Now that we’ve got the exposition out of the way, let’s get to the meat of this article.
For the longest time, everyone expected the Reach collective to do the work of building up the sub-genre and expose every great artist to their fanbase. While Reach did that to an extent, it seems to not be their lane and thats not a bad thing. The lane that Reach falls under is being a bridge in a way that other labels cannot (i.e.: Gawvi, 1k Phew, Aha Gazelle). Reach has the resources and connections to infiltrate the mainstream in a way that other groups can only dream of and may be the most prepared to do so.
Where RMG falls is something that has been intentional per the leadership of Doc Watson. For those not in the know, he is a figurehead in the CHH community but also one that is uniquely not an artist nor pursuing music
personally. This is needed in a culture that seems to be comprised of so many artists and so little infrastructure. With the introduction of RMG Amplify which aims to serve artists first reflects a blend of good business and biblical values. Even behind the scenes, the collaboration between the indie tribe.collective and RMG is much deeper than what most fans would come to know.
The latest example is with the upcoming SXSW showcase feat. a collaboration between Trackstarz, Rapzilla, NGEN Radio, etc. and artists from different camps such as Propaganda, Dee-1, Ruslan, Swoope, Joey Jewish, Wande, etc.
It’s coming to be that RMG is fulfilling the role that everyone expected Reach to fulfill. In the same manner that Reach are perhaps the most prepared to run in their lane, I believe that Doc Watson and the folks at RMG may also be the most prepared to run in theirs as well.
And in a time of toxic comment sections, questioning of people’s faiths, a plethora of artists and fans coming and leaving the culture, endless debates on things such as the Christian Rapper vs. Rapper that’s a Christian, and more in a climate of seemingly endless division, this type of unity is very much welcomed and is revealing to be very much an intentional plan from God above.