This Saturday, August 26, ArtRat Gallery is proud to present “Good Produce + Friends,” a hip-hop showcase from rapper, producer and audio engineer Derrick Shorter, owner of the Grand Rapids label Good Produce LLC.

The show, which also features Sonny Ski and IHK as well as DJ JD, runs 4-7pm at 46 Division Ave. S in the heart of downtown Grand Rapids. (Admission $10 in advance, $15 at the door; tickets available on Eventbrite.) 

Ahead of Saturday’s show, ArtRat asked Derrick about his musical roots and his ambitions for Good Produce.

Your new single “Penny Lofton” offers insights into your family’s creative influence: Your father Garland was a talented producer, and your mother is a DJ who owns Della Soul Records (soon to open its first brick-and-mortar store). How early did you know that you wanted to make and produce music yourself?  

Derrick Shorter in front of car.

So it’s actually funny, because as a kid I always wanted to do something creative, but never knew exactly what I wanted to do. I used to draw and write all of the time when I was younger, whether that be music, poetry, a book, or anything else. I was an athlete mainly growing up and I had my sights set on going pro. 

Then in my senior year of high school, I began to make beats for myself because I got tired of looking for beats on YouTube. Plus, nothing fit my style that I heard. So I began producing, and I fell in love with it. I learned how to experiment with different sounds, and began producing beats around the songs that I had written already. 

What inspired you to start Good Produce, and how do you hope it will help shape the Grand Rapids scene and beyond?

Derrick Shorter in red cap.

Good Produce was inspired by two things: orange juice & independence. Here’s why: I love orange juice with a passion, which is one reason why the main color of my brand is orange. I wanted to create something that promotes a lifestyle of being healthy, handling your business, etc. 

Independence because I wanted to create a platform for myself & others to be able to drop music. I was a producer for a label in Detroit for a while and decided that I wanted to drop music under them. However, they did not see the same vision that I saw as far as solo music for me. So I left, created Good Produce and really just went from there. 

Another reason is because I wanted something to honor my parents for how well they raised me. Orange & blue are my parents’ favorite colors, and I just put them together to create the color scheme.

What should the broader community to know about Grand Rapids hip-hop?

Grand Rapids hip-hop is a scene that you shouldn’t sleep on. Everyone is starting to come together and collaborate, and once we started doing that, the sky became the limit for us. Also, our sound is very different from the rest of Michigan’s. We’re starting to form our own identity.

Talk about your guests for “Good Produce + Friends.” What inspired you to invite these artists to the first edition of this showcase, and what kind of vibe are you looking to create? 

These artists are people whose music I am a fan of and I wanted to give them the same platform I wish someone had given me when I was just starting out. We want to create an environment where people can vibe out to good music.


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