Pro recalls using a bunk bed as a mic stand before turning 21 and signing a record deal with an independent label... 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.Make Pro Playlist