Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Satelite Kite by Beautiful Eulogy

One of the more frustrating aspects of being a reviewer is hearing so much hip-hop that sounds unoriginal. It seems a lot of artists play it safe and stick to easy formulas that have worked in that past for other artists. Beautiful Eulogy is a breath of fresh air with their debut title, Satellite Kite.

Now, just because this is Beautiful Eulogy’s debut album does not mean that the artists making-up Beautiful Eulogy are rookies. Braille, Odd Thomas, and Courtland Urbano, who comprise this Portland, Oregon-based group, have been making a name for themselves as solo artists long before anyone knew them as a collective. For example, Courtland Urbano, previously known as Xperiment, has produced for quite a few hip-hop artists, fared well in numerous beat battles, and released multiple instrumental beat albums. Odd Thomas released a solo album in 2006 and also has some production credits under his belt; anyone remember a little album called Art Ambidextrous? And then there is Braille, who already has an extensive catalogue that includes seven solo albums and a tour with the late James Brown.

The first thing that I noticed while listening to Satellite Kite was that it really has its own sound. It is evident early on that this is not just some vocals over a pre-produced beat, but it is an actual musical arrangement. Unconventional drum patterns, sometimes haunting instrumentals, and other sounds that I can’t quite put my finger on make for a distinctly unique and enthralling listening experience. I also really enjoyed the nuances certain tracks had such as the sound of water dripping on “Anchor.” It’s the little things that keep catching my attention and wondering how they came up with them.

The two emcees, Odd Thomas and Braille are outstanding on this album. Stylistically, Braille sounds nothing like his previous records but adapts well to the more worshipful focus of Beautiful Eulogy.  I have been a long-time fan of his work, so I expected him to be great, but I’ll be honest, Odd Thomas really surprised me. I heard his solo album, The Divine Use of Animosity and Ridicule a few years ago and thought he definitely had potential, but I did not expect him to do what he has done on Satellite Kite. His flow is so smooth that he makes it sound effortless even when he is rapping fast. Both of these emcees meshed well together and maintained great chemistry throughout the project.

The features were also a plus. There seemed to be just the right amount of guest appearances to add something to the album, but not so much that it seemed overbearing or crowded. Lee Green adds his gritty vocals on “Surrender” and is the only other emcee on the project. Propaganda, who is also an extremely gifted emcee by-the-way, sticks to his other passion on “Wonderful” and provides the listener with some of that gospel-saturated poetry so many have come to enjoy. Then there are the smooth vocals of Josh Garrels, who I really enjoyed on “Anchor,” and Catalina Bellizzi whose style on “Take It Easy” is wonderfully eccentric.

I suppose it’s easy to tell that I loved Satellite Kite, but I cannot help it.  I love to see hip-hop used creatively to communicate weighty truth. For fans of hip-hop, this is almost a no-brainer. For those that are not fans of hip-hop, I would still implore you to check out this album. I am sure there is something on it that will peak your interest. And since you can download it for free at, there is really no reason not to listen to this album.

Father Hunger By Douglas Wilson


Father Hunger by Douglas Wilson is not at all what I expected. Given the title and the subtitle, Why God Calls Men to Love and Lead Their Families, I anticipated this book being more of a slap-on-the-wrist for dads in error followed by a pragmatic solution. Instead, the reader gets a lesson on economics, anti-feminism, gender roles, education, child discipline and more.

Wilson really breaks down the society’s ills which, according to Wilson, are a direct result of the lack of a masculine head of the family. Although the concepts Wilson discusses and defends are very intellectual and complex, he addresses them in a very readable and relatable manner. There are plenty of jokes and witty humor to almost make the book feel conversational rather than essay-ish.

There were a few points Wilson made that seemed like a bit of a stretch for me. For example, Wilson argues that a father who desires to train up his child in the ways of the Lord must provide them with a Christian education, i.e. private school or home school. Through his argument, Wilson seems as if he is asserting that sending a child to public school is an un-Christian thing to do. However, despite the fact that I disagreed with Wilson on a few points, I still found his arguments compelling and well-worth the read.

Not being real familiar with Douglas Wilson, I had no real expectations of Father Hunger outside of what was stated at the beginning of the review. I found him to be intelligent and readable and I really enjoyed his humor. I thought he stated his points well, despite the few areas that were a bit of a stretch for me. Even though this book was nothing like I anticipated, it ended-up being much better than I could have hoped. Whether you agree with everything he says or not, Wilson certainly leaves his readers with something to think about.

I received a copy of this book for free from in exchange for my review.