Often times in hip hop, sonic trends dictate the course of popular music, so it’s always refreshing when an artist emerges with his own distinct style and point of view. The multitalented Deraj has played by his own rules, offering his listeners a diverse musical palette that unabashedly spans alternative, hip hop, trap, pop and future bass. His empowering messages and passionate delivery are consistently relatable as they tackle everyday struggles, faith and triumph. “I always want people to be able to feel encouraged that they are not the only ones that may be dealing with the internal dialogue about life struggles,” he says. “I want people to feel like my story is their story.” Deraj’s personal style and artwork compliment his music, driven by his background as a graphic designer. It was actually his arts background that landed him a job as art director for Reflection Music Group. When the label learned of his rap skills, the artist who began rapping at nine years old was offered a spot on the roster. The DMV-raised, Orlando-based performer is completing his third EP under RMG, following his 2016 EP, For the People, with B. Cooper and 2014 debut Mirrors and Medicine. His unique, well received sound has resulted in features on national media outlets such as NBC’s America’s Got Talent, footwear retailer Journeys, as well as major sporting events including NCAA, NBA Finals, NFL and ESPN’s First Take. His achievements stress the importance of artists being bold enough to find and develop their own unique voices, ultimately helping to advance the culture.