Earthquakes is another new track from Charles Luck and his collective. They continue to crank out an impressive volume of work without sacrificing any quality. This particular jam is a mix of pop, light hip hop and EDM which is carried by the sparkling vocals of Addie, a female vocalist. Wisely, producer Ian Hanks and the rest of the crew kept effects to a minimum and didn’t ruin her vocals with a lot of unnecessary processing. The result is that Addie’s voice shines throughout the song with near crystal clarity, while Tino Red chimes in midway through the song with a well timed rap interlude.
The catchiest parts both musically and lyrically for me are the “starting earthquakes, moving mountains…” phrases which are repeated several times throughout the song as part of a lovely musical progression. It builds and rebuilds each time to an epic EDM chorus which delivers the payoff excitable types will be waiting for. As with the other songs associated with this collective, “Earthquakes” exudes a positive, energetic and upbeat tone throughout.
One noticeable pattern in much of Charles Luck and his associates’ work is the positivity and uplifting nature of the content. This isn’t just limited to the lyrics but also is evident in the music itself. The beats, the tonality, the melody and even the choice of sounds lends itself creating a positive atmosphere. “Lift Off” (Featuring Tino Red) is no exception to this. Even the title hints at optimism about the future, or at least a possible future.
Where “Lift Off” succeeds is in allowing hip hop to explore new dreamlike themes while managing to avoid a lot of the tired cliches that have stifled meaningful creativity in the genre. One of the great things about the internet, is that it has made collaboration with far away artists more feasible than ever before. Such collaboration results in interesting collectives and ambitious projects such as “Lift Off.”
The song is smooth and mellow, without trying to be slick or clever. Tino Red delivers his rhymes with a relaxed and methodical musicality. One doesn’t hear the stirrings of any misplaced angst in his voice or get the sense that he has a chip on his shoulder. I’m confident these guys will continue to put out good quality work because they’re talented and appear to be in this for the right reasons.
This 11 track debut album by Charles Luck is a team effort and contains a lot of variety as far as sound, as a features a number of musical contributors that vary in style and tone. Luck wrote the songs, and his fellow comrades performed them.
Some background info on Black Astronaut:
Black Astronaut Is A Hip Hop Collective Comprised of Lead Songwriter Charles Luck, Rapper/Singer Tino Red, Rappers Gyro, InZane, Sticky Bud, Vedo, and B Daz. Ex Members Include Pastor C and FlipLeaf. The group has 4 singers: Muze, Jonathan BT, Zack David, and Addie
Conceptually, the whole release seems meticulously put together as an ambitious and visionary project. One thing this album doesn’t do is disappoint. It is very high quality throughout and Luck and crew leave something for everyone. The songs range from hip hop to adult contemporary rock to spoken word poetry, and yet none of it really seems out of place.
Track 2, “Life on Mars,” featuring the terrific singing of Jonathan BT, is the most impressive song in my opinion, and its placement near the beginning is a wise choice, as it sets the tone for this being a polished and professional endeavor. The main single, “Is the Galaxy Just Pimping Me” is catchy and contains a bright and colorful musicality not normally found in most modern hip hop songs. The sparkly and curiosity driven delivery by rapper Tino Red fits perfectly with the question posed as the title of the song. Tino features on several tracks on the album. He maintains a thoughtful, unassuming style consistently, without ever coming across as preachy or lowbrow.
All of the performers are solid, and nobody weighs down the ship. Another memorable song is “Stardust,” a minimalist piano number with Ft. Muze providing a stellar vocal performance.
Black Astronaut hip hop collective claims they want to “reintroduce lyric focused rap music to the new generation.” This album certainly succeeds there, but what it also manages to do is reintroduce artistic minded songwriting to hip hop, something that the genre (which is mostly bogged down in mindless materialism) sorely needs.
Admittedly, there is a lot of competition in the universe of alternative or “indie” hip hop, but if these tracks were as aggressively marketed as they were produced, I could see the potential for some real hits here.