Planet Asia and TzariZM - Via Satellite (Review)

Planet Asia and TzariZM - Via Satellite (Essence of Hip-Hop)

"Via Satellite" is a collaborative album between West Coast hip-hop veteran Planet Asia and Orlando-based producer TzariZM. The album features guest appearances from Killer Ben, Rock (of Heltah Skeltah), Oh No, Prodigal Sunn and others and is fully produced by TzariZM himself (except for one of the bonus remixes, which is produced by IMAKEMADBEATS). It was released on July 29, 2014 via Doxside Music Group.

1) Transmit In - Skit.

2) International Voice - The first track on the album finds Planet Asia kicking some boastful rhymes over a slightly ominous instrumental with a eerie vocal sample and ambient synth noises in the background. The beat is pretty good and Asia sounds ok over it, but this isn't quite as dope as I was hoping for. Still, not bad by any means. - 3/5

3) Nobody Close - This is much better though. TzariZM delivers a crazy beat on this track, with an ill chopped up soul sample layered over minimal drums, and Planet Asia comes through and just rips it. I'm really feelin' this cut and the short instrumental at the end of it is fire as well. - 4/5

4) Hard Body (featuring Killer Ben and TzariZM) - Planet Asia links up with fellow Durag Dynasty member Killer Ben and TzariZM himself over a harder instrumental with stomping drums and a sped up sample. The beat is dope and all three emcees come correct over it. Nice. - 3.75/5

5) Powerful (featuring Rockness Monsta) - Boot Camp Clik / Heltah Skeltah emcee Rock shows up for a rare guest appearance on this cut, sharing the mic with Planet Asia over another harder beat. The instrumental definitely brings the energy and both King Medallions and Rockness sound great over it. - 3.5/5

6) The Essence (featuring MidaZ the Beast) - TzariZM comes through with another of my favorite beats on the entire album, this time with a smooth instrumental full of jazzy horns and soulful backing vocals. Lyrically the song is just as good, with Planet Asia and Orlando's MidaZ the Beast flowing nicely over the beat while showing some good chemistry together on the mic. - 4/5

7) Satellite Channels - This track is kinda like two songs in one, with the first being separated from the second by a quick skit. The beats on both halves are pretty dope, with the first featuring bright horns over lively drums and the second being centered around a vocal loop, and Planet Asia rips both of them while spitting in an energetic flow. Very nice. - 4/5

8) No Drama - The beat on this cut finds TzariZM flipping what sounds like the same sample as Black Star's classic track "Respiration", but with an entirely different take on the sample. I may be way off on that (as I usually am), but that piano loop sounds real familiar. Anyways, the beat is dope and Planet Asia sounds nice over it as he spits some love raps. - 3.5/5

9) On Time - Planet Asia does his thing over a over another chopped up soul sample. The beat is dope and Asia is never slacking when it comes to the boastful rhymes. It's not my favorite track, but it's not bad. - 3/5

10) Money Drum - The instrumental on this track features another chopped up vocal sample, but this time layered over harder drums and hand claps. The beat and rhymes are cool, but this is probably my least favorite song on the album so far. - 2.75/5

11) Smut Movie (featuring Tristate) - Now this is dope. TzariZM comes through with another of my favorite beats on the entire project, this time with some soft chimes over boom-bap drums. Lyrically the song is just as ill as the beat, with Asia linking up with the third member of Durag Dynasty and both emcees just ripping the track. I'm really feelin' this one. - 4/5

12) Lion Heart (featuring Montage One) - This one is dope as well, with Planet Asia and Los Angeles hip-hop artist Montage One spitting fire over an instrumental with a bit of a West Coast vibe. Very nice. - 3.75/5

13) 100 Mill (featuring MidaZ the Beast) - MidaZ the Beast returns on this cut, with the Orlando-based emcee setting the track off nicely before Planet Asia comes in and shuts shit down. As on the past few tracks, the beat is real dope and everyone comes correct with their verses. Yet another banger. - 4/5

14) Chuck Norris (featuring Prodigal Sunn) - This song features Sunz of Man emcee Prodigal Sunn (who has always been one of my favorite Wu-Tang affiliates) and Planet Asia kicking some esoteric street rhymes over another chopped up vocal and string sample. This shit is fire, but it's way too short. - 4.25/5

15) Moment of Fate (featuring Oh No) - Planet Asia and Oh No come correct over a chopped up vocal loop with hard pianos and stomping drums. The album started off pretty strong, but it's really picked up on the second half. Very nice track. - 4/5

16) Mystique (featuring Purple Kloud) - The final song on the album finds Planet Asia ripping a sort of ethereal instrumental while Purple Kloud provides some backing vocals and singing on the chorus. The beat and rhymes are dope, but I'm not really feelin' the hook by Purple Kloud on here. Still, not a  bad way to close out the album. - 3/5

17) Transmit Out- Skit.

* Bonus Tracks *

18) Jokes Aside - The first of the bonus cuts features King Medallions kicking some braggadocios street rhymes over an animated instrumental with some crazy scratching and an M.O.P. sample. The beat and rhymes are nice, but this one isn't hitting me quite as hard as some of the other tracks. Still, Asia spits his ass off on here. - 3/5

19) Via Satellite (featuring MidaZ the Beast and Casual) - This joint is actually the title track of the album and finds Planet Asia linking back up with MidaZ the Beast as well as Hieroglyphics legend Casual over what sounds like a sample from a NES/SNES game. I'm not sure what game, but the shit is ill. Lyrically the song is just as good, with all three emcees coming correct and with Planet Asia having the standout verse (in my opinion). - 4/5

20) Powerful (IMAKEMADBEATS Remix) - The final bonus track is the only joint on here not produced by TzariZM himself, with IMAKEMADBEATS handling production duties and delivering a more moody instrumental than the original. The lyrics are the same as the OG, but I'm kinda feelin' the darker feel of this remix more than the original. - 4/5

I'm going to rate the album

3.75 / 5

because there is some really good material on here. TzariZM really came through with the beats on this project, delivering a variety of instrumentals ranging from the usual chopped up soul samples to kind of spaced out, modernized boom-bap bangers. I'm loving the majority of the production and how each track managed to sound unique over the course of a 20 track album. Lyrically the album is just as good (if not better) than the beats, with Planet Asia spitting fire and bodying every track. He has always been a beast on the mic and he definitely shows that here. All in all, the album came together very nicely definitely has me looking forward to what else these two can cook up in the future.


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