Disclaimer: All views presented in this Album Review are those of the album reviewer and not of DJ Wade-O.
Hip-hop isn’t just beats and lyrics, something to dance to, or just words that rhyme. Hip Hop is art, expression creativity and passion.
In it’s purest form, hip hop artists pour all they have into creating something they can share with people who enjoy the art. Like art, their music is either received or rejected. It can be heralded as a timeless creation or just a mess that doesn’t quite make sense.
That’s why hip-hop is so special. Like art, there is a rare vulnerability that takes place when the art is presented to the masses.
On June 19th two of the “Christian Hip Hop Community’s “well-known artists, Braille and Odd Thomas came together with music mastermind Courtland Urbano (aka Xperiment) and presented us with “Satellite Kite”. If anyone in our scene deserves the title of “artist” it’s the members this super group, Beautiful Eulogy. Each has made a career of taking the simple art of rapping and turning it into one creative masterpiece after another.
It’s easy to assume that “Satellite Kite” would be an amazing display of artistic expression. Yet, we all know what happens when we assume.
A group album is much different than a solo project. Great artists have come together in the past and tried to do this only to fall flat on their face (i.e. Jay-Z and R-Kelly’s “Best of Both Worlds”). Plus, no one knew what Beautiful Eulogy was about. Is the group an extension of their solo careers or would they attempt to do something completely different? Would Beautiful Eulogy put together beautiful art? Or, would they take something so beautiful (like the idea of this group), and make a mess of it?
Here’s why “Satellite Kite” wasn’t a mess, and in fact was beautiful art:
1) Satellite Kite has Beautiful Chemistry
Two people being good at something individually doesn’t mean that they will collaborate well together. Chemistry often takes time to develop, and without it something that should be beautiful can turn out to be a mess.
On “Satellite Kite”, Beautiful Eulogy proved that this rule didn’t apply to them. They maneuvered through this record with beautiful chemistry. There were times when it didn’t seem like a group, but rather one mind. Usually on a group album (or any collaboration for that matter) there is one member that just gets out done. Beautiful Eulogy skates around this in a way that is rarely seen in hip-hop.
As opposed to verses being compared to one another as separate entities coming together in collaboration, these verses added on to each other. A great example of this is on the song “Beautiful Eulogy”. Each verse gelled together to create more of a piece of art than just a song. They were able to take these pieces and put together the beautiful puzzle that is “Satellite Kite”.
Song: “Beautiful Eulogy”
Artist: Beautiful Eulogy
Album: Satellite Kite
2) Satellite Kite has Beautiful Lyricism
Odd Thomas and Braille have both developed strong reputations as lyricists. Because of this, the expectation was that “Satellite Kite” would be another jewel in each of these lyricists’ crowns. Beautiful Eulogy did not disappoint.
They skillfully maneuvered through a variety of topics with slick wordplay and an ease that seemed effortless. What made it beautiful wasn’t the wordplay, big words, imagery, or even what they said; it was how they said it. For a lot of lyricists the only thing that matters is what they say.
Beautiful Eulogy shattered that idea because the way they presented their lyrics was just as important to the album as what was said. They changed flows, tones and styles to match the vibe of each song. They didn’t just rap over beats; they created a scene for the listener.
Each lyric was a beautiful stroke that created the artwork they called “Satellite Kite”. This was never more present then on the song “Entitlement” when the duo spit this:
“Limited in mind limited in body, ruler of our own domain
Claim false authority, like we’re the ones who rule and reign
The mentality of the majority is more than metaphorically
Morphing into what misinformed form of who we were born to be”
With strokes like this Beautiful Eulogy was able to create a lyrical masterpiece.
3) Satellite Kite has Beautiful Production
“Satellite Kite” would be an incomplete piece of art without stellar production. That’s where the third member of the group, Courtland Urbano, showed up big. The production on this record was great. Courtland was able to create an environment that draws the listener in.
We were brought into the world they were creating through beautiful production. Sonically this project is unlike anything else that is out, and that’s part of what draws you in. Xperiment was then able to keep you with one fantastic melody after another. Musically, this record was much more than a typical hip-hop album. The production served as the canvas that Braille and Odd Thomas were to paint over. This was executed perfectly and a beautiful piece of artwork came from it.
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