Top of the Pops: Satellite Flight

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February 27, 2014 by NowhereButPop

by Khalid Bennett

Space and Hip-Hop; those two things probably don’t go well together.  You don’t hear too many rap lyrics dealing with any aspect of space/celestial dome unless it’s about being so high that you are up in clouds or outer space.  After all, David Bowie doesn’t rap.  There is one rapper who does in fact mentions being “a man on the moon”, which has a deeper metaphorical meaning and his name is Kid Cudi.

I’m a big Kid Cudi fan.  I first heard him circa 2009 and I’ve loved everything he’s made since then.  He’s one of my favorite artists and one of the few that I would listen to over and over all day.  I didn’t even know that he was going to have an album out this year.  After the release of Indicud, he mentioned that he would release the last album of his “Man on the Moon” trilogy, but that wouldn’t be until 2015.  According to his Twitter, he had mentioned that he would release an EP.  The name of that EP is called Satellite Flight: The Journey to Mother Moon.  Earlier this year, Kid Cudi announced that Satellite Flight would become a full-length studio album, his fourth such album.

I was on Twitter a couple of nights ago and I see all these tweets about new music from Kid Cudi; so I went to his Twitter account to see what’s up. Satellite Flight: The Journey to Mother Moon had been released midnight February 25th on iTunes.  I was pretty excited to learn that Kid Cudi had had a new album out, because as good as Indicud was, I had been a little uninterested in the recent music coming out.  I was not going to wait on this album so I downloaded prior to writing this review.

Satellite Flight: The Journey to Mother Moon consists of 10 tracks and only one featured artist.

As I’m writing this review, I’m listening to the album for the second time.  Satellite Flight has saved my boredom.  I’ve been waiting to hear something new for a while and Kid Cudi has done that.

The key concept about Satellite Flight is that it incorporates everything that Kid Cudi has done with his past three albums.  I said to myself that it’s like a remix, combination, and collection of all his previous three albums plus WZRD.  Kid Cudi basically goes back to his roots to what made him famous.  Everyone knows that he isn’t the typical Hip-Hop artist; his lyrics aren’t similar to the crap you hear today on the radio.  The music he produces isn’t the club bangers that make ratchet girls twerk all day long.  I believe that Kid Cudi makes real Hip-Hop music.

The problem people have with Kid Cudi is that he’s not so mainstream.  People criticize him because his music isn’t similar to what he hear today.  He hasn’t been that popular on the radio since “Day ‘n’ Night” and that was in 2008.  Yet, he still makes good music and he is popular with his fans.  You’d be surprise to hear that he has a big fan base.  To me, he’s very underrated and doesn’t get enough credit for constantly producing good music.

Anyway, back to the album.  Kid Cudi mentions that Satellite Flight: The Journey to Mother Moon is a “bridge” between Indicud and Man on the Moon 3.  Listening to this album twice, I can understand why he would say that.  The music production of Satellite Flight is very similar to Indicud and the production of songs incorporates all the elements from his previous albums.  It’s almost like being in outer space or in his case, the moon.  There are a lot of futuristic sounds used highlighted by his use of synthesizers, which makes you wonder what is in the mind of Kid Cudi.  You’d think with synthesizers that it would sound like ’80s music or electronica and it doesn’t at all.  He mixes the keyboard with other instruments such as the electric guitar and strings.  But the way he does it, it makes every song on this album so eclectically delightful.  I haven’t once yet wanted to skip a song.  There are even a couple of tracks where it’s just instrumental for you to listen and appreciate the randomness and complexity of the song.  If you have listened to any Kid Cudi song, you can tell his style and understand how every song incorporates that style.  He hasn’t changed at all, and is still using his roots and the music he’s comfortable with and not just what the public or radio wants to hear.  It’s very soothing and calm, with some songs adding a little edge and that Kid Cudi flair.  As I’ve said before, no song on this album would be considered a “club banger” and I am definitely okay with that.  Kid Cudi produced every track with some help from his WZRD partner, Dot da Genius.

In terms of lyrics, Kid Cudi is up and down when it comes to lyrics.  He’s not a storyteller but at least it’s not about getting money and fucking women all day long.  A former pothead, he doesn’t mention smoking weed at all, since he quit a few years ago.  He does go back to his beginnings talking about his struggles and how people criticize him a lot.

“In My Dreams 2015” is a reference to “In My Dreams” from his first album.  Even though it’s an instrumental, there are excerpts from the first album.  I’m pretty sure the 2015 is a reference to the final album of the Man on the Moon trilogy.  “Troubled Boy” goes back to the first album in how he was alone and had no support in pursuing his music career.  All in all, the lyrics are typical Kid Cudi with him being so soft spoken at times.  And yet, he will be able to spit a few bars although they may not punch you in the face.  But it’s still Kid Cudi with his singing and his infamous humming at the beginning of most songs.

Unlike his last album, Kid Cudi is all by himself with the exception of one artist, Raphael Saadiq, who does a good job in “Balmain Jeans”.

Here is the tracklist:

1. Destination: Mother Moon*- an intro and instrumental start to the album; it’s almost like you are about to take off into a journey through the whole album

2. Going to the Ceremony- very similar to the WZRD album as it incorporates the electric guitar with Kid Cudi’s singing and it’s produced by WZRD; it’s listenable

3. Satellite Flight*- also produced by WZRD; very futuristic and awesome beat

4. Copernicus Landing- just an instrumental with vocals in the back; also incorporates the futuristic sounds; it’s probably like an interlude of the album

5. Balmain Jeans (feat. Raphael Saadiq)- very slow sounding with additional vocals/lyrics from Raphael Saadiq; it’s listenable

6. Too Bad I Have to Destroy You Now*- classic Kid Cudi; his best song lyrically; probably my second favorite song on the album

7. Internal Bleeding- it’s listenable but probably my least favorite song

8. In My Dreams 2015- a reference to “In My Dreams” from Man on the Moon; getting prepared for Man on the Moon 3; mainly instrumental

9. Return of the Moon Man (Original Score)*- all instrumenal with brass, horns, strings, and keyboard sounds; sounds a little epic like something climatic is about to happen

10. Troubled Boy*- probably my favorite song on the album; very calm and mellow but also classic Kid Cudi

Rating:

8.9/10 (Very Good)

Overall, Satellite Flight: The Journey to Mother Moon is exactly what I needed to hear to escape the boringness of Urban Hip-Hop radio.  I’m glad that I can listen to something new and different and what I consider to be Hip-Hop.  This album incorporates what Kid Cudi is all about and how alternative Hip-Hop has an effect on the music industry.  It’s obvious that it’s not going to be mainstream and I like it like that.  The album may not be a masterpiece but it does incorporate everything I love about Kid Cudi.  Satellite Flight is a must listen for real Hip-Hop fans and for anyone wanting to hear something a little different.

Satellite Flight: The Journey to Mother Moon may not be a masterpiece but it seems to be a great transition to what I hope will be a wonderful end to the Man on the Moon trilogy.

Do I really have to wait one more year for Man on the Moon 3?

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