Open Mike Eagle’s last, last record was called Rappers Will Die of Natural Causes. Ultimately, it was a treatise on the aging of hip hop. It’s no coincidence that OME is also a father. Here at Syffal many of us are dads, plump around the midsection, and primed for a midlife crisis. In the meantime rap has matured. And so far that has been a good thing. Releases have become more frequent but with less overblown packaging, less hardcore but more talent, less fill and more substance, less fiction and more reality, less bravado and more humble.
Each of those is more preferred by yours truly. I know those little ill, trill, swaggaliscious, neon millennium cray babies are injecting some new energy and style in the game, as the next generation should. I can't hate. But rather than traverse the path of so many dinosaur rappers before, the older emcees are also reinventing the game. And it’s on their terms.
With the record industry going through death throes, we’ve undeniably entered a digital democracy where consumers are choosing what they listen to with far more ease than previous decades. With infinite choices, the cream is indeed rising to the top. While music seems as disposable as ever, more musicians are getting a crack at getting their music to people’s cochlea.
Enter Satellite High. A self-proclaimed “Sort-of-Rap-Artist”. My favorite line from his bio speaks volumes about why I knew I’d like this cat, “Nationally-Recognized Multigenre Artist, Writer, Producer, Developer, and Entrepreneur, featured in NYTimes, CNN, and Washington Post (Mostly for dumb shit, though.)” Ha! Mostly for dumb shit though! Less bravado, more humble.
I had the pleasure of reviewing a little 2-track album called, Slocore. It’s very minimal, with sparse drums, some plucky bass, and a staggered, conversational flow. There is something to releasing tracks more frequently, but with little bling. It whets the appetite without making us spring twenty bucks for some glossy, shrink-wrapped and signed CD screen-printed to look like vinyl. It keeps my attention-deficitted ass more aware and interested. More frequent but with less overblown packaging, less fill more substance.
As an emcee Satellite High has hooks but doesn’t seem to rely or reach for them. Lately I’ve been getting out of bed though / A little less living in my head though / Lately I’ve been feeling like a friend / Little more going out, less playing Nintendo”. He even gets a tad melodic on the chorus of “Celexa” – an antidepressant. Less fiction and more reality.
On “Milquetoast,” Satellite High accuses someone of being more “Malcolm in the Middle” than “Breaking Bad.” Besides the fact that anybody who uses the chronology of Bryan Cranston’s character acting is straight in my book, this is the kind of honesty I fiend for. Outside of the drums, Satellite High played all of the instrumentation on the tracks. This is further evidence that it takes more than a big fucking mouth to make interesting hip hop these days. You can’t just take the stage and holler, “When I say Fuck the… You say cops!” Less hardcore but more talent.
Creativity and talent are the new lick-dick-bitch-shit rhyme schemes and White Sox hats. All I can say is, Satellite High: keep’em coming homie. You made a fan outta me.