As my colleague recently experienced, sometimes we as writers struggle to find words to appropriately describe a project. In many instances the struggle is often found with mediocre albums, where we need to find the balance of conveying our criticism lovingly yet truthfully. However in very rare cases, there comes along an album which is so breathtakingly pulchritudinous that words fail to adequately describe. Such is the case with Satellite Kite.
Instead of the typical production/lyrics breakdown, allow me examine the album under a different light. This album is not just a collection of songs; rather it is a whole entity made up of different parts that cannot be separated; otherwise the album would fall apart. Each individual song flows into the next song, both conceptually and sonically. For example consider the interlude, “The String That Ties Us”, which is a sermon extract of Art Azurdia, speaking on Christian Love.
This sermon excerpt is set over a bright ambient texture which culminates ever so subtly into a crescendo on the height of the sermon’s exclamation and then slowly tapers off into another minute of just music which forces your mind to meditate on what Pastor Azurdia just said. This is unnoticeably followed by similar percussion which was on the background of the previous track but is now on the forefront of “Entitlement,” creating an unmistakable link between the two tracks.
This link is further reinforced by the subject that is being discussed, which is Christian Love. “Entitlement” contrasts “The String That Ties Us” by exposing what we as believers often think of Love. Both emcees, Braille and Odd Thomas, explain that Love not something that we think we deserve but in fact it is grace. Also this track has the most memorable verse from the whole album. Every verse on this album is of diamond status. However Odd Thomas’ verse here is a pink diamond. Every word of this verse is meditation-worthy and ruminating deeply on this verse will alter your understanding of God. In this verse is Christianity 101. Do you want to know what Christianity is? Read on:
“We spend a lifetime trying to find love in anything and everything this life has to offer it’s true/ and often times we trade the temporal satisfaction for the things the genuine believer is entitled to/ I’m convinced that it’s because they don’t understand that there exists an order of benefits of redemption that’s applied to his bride/ And the basis of his choice in election was for God alone to decide/ And it is not like an “invitation” that one might accept or reject, but rather it’s the effectual calling drawing to Himself His elect/ Regenerating and enabling us to respond in faith toward Christ/ Giving us the gift of repentance and revealing the nature of His sacrifice.”
I know that I have only discussed two songs*. However, the above two songs exemplify this whole album. Due to the distinct nature of this album, I do not want to spoil the treasure that awaits the listener. The sonic direction of the project fits the concept of the album. It is ethereal and experimental, yet at its core it pure, unadulterated hip-hop with a west coast lean. The rhymes are there, there are many different flows to be found on this project for the hip-hop heads. This album is also a worship album. A new genre of hip-hop worship that is focused on and only Christ was opened by The Attributes Of God; which is now furthered by Satellite Kite; as seen on Anchor**.
Over the years there have only been a handful of CHH albums that deserve the “classic” label. Satellite Kite joins the ranks of Christology, Gang Affliated and The Solus Christus Project as albums that perfectly balanced Christian theology and beautiful art. These albums paved the way for all future projects and Satellite Kite has done the same. Every release from now onwards will inevitably be compared to the high standard set by this album.
This album is not the one that you bump in your whip***. This is an album where you need to sit and listen to each word and note and envisage deeply about your savior, Christ. This is an album that you need to hear. Not only need, but must hear. Even if the musical direction is not for those who would rather listen to this, this album will be appreciated by everyone who has ears to hear what these guys are saying. In short, this album is a classic.
*there is so much more that can be discussed about the emcees but the review has already gone on too long.
**my current favorite track of the album.
***although it certainly does bump in the whip.