Katalyst, the Chicago emcee, recently released his debut project, Death by Design. Much more work needs to be placed on the “design” part.
In my opinion, something went very wrong during Death by Design’s inception and well, design. The music isn’t terrible. But it’s not particularly strong. Unfortunately, there isn’t a lot of distinction from track to track. Everything, from the beats to the themes (sin issues, dying to sin, dying to sin issues), becomes a fairly bland blur. That’s not to say there aren’t bright spots.
“I Need the Truth” gives some pretty dope social commentary, making some points about sin issues of our day, but in a very thought-provoking and informative way. Also, “Die if I Have To” gives a very catchy beat and hook behind the message of decreasing.
Still, this is the high point of the album. As I mentioned before, he does not explore a tremendous amount of depth in his emceeing about the need for repentance. Sure, repenting is crucial, but there’s much more to our faith than denying ourselves for the sake of Christ, and pointing out apostate behavior and teaching…which brings me to a fairly serious observation I’d like to make about the album.
There are times to critique and be honest about faulty teaching, backslidden lifestyles and imperfect pastoral leadership. However, it’s one thing to give Spirit-led criticism, and another thing to unnecessarily bash those that you disagree with. But, that’s exactly what I believe Katalyst may have done throughout much of the project. A significant majority of the songs have something to say about people groups that don’t match up to Katalyst’s understanding of God’s standards. He spends a wholly disproportionate amount of time discussing the flaws of others. It doesn’t make for good music, and it limits good ministry. It contributes more to gossip and false-judgment, and definitely doesn’t edify the Body.
Does Joe Not-A-Christian really have to be beaten over the head about his depravity? Yeah, maybe… but it needs to come in love. When someone says (a direct quote from his song, “I’m Saved”) “Jesus don’t love everybody, the Bible tells us we enemies with God”, not only is love extracted from the presentation of truth, but the truth isn’t presented either! Jesus said “love your enemies” in the Gospel of John, and He clearly demonstrated throughout the Word that He has love for not just His elect, but His creation. There’s a balance to the message, and claims like this heavily damage the good intention of presenting people the need for getting right with God.
Katalyst, I won’t front about my strong disagreement with your approach. But, I want you to know that I in no way intend to single you out or personally insult you. And I am more than willing to admit I could be off, as even Paul the Apostle said that “we (all) see things imperfectly,” in 1 Corinthians 13:12. I aim to help the Body, and I *know* you do as well.
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Review by: B. Davis
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