Fresno, California emcee Planet Asia is usually a rapper who can offer anything anyone would want from the underground hip hop scene. Since he teamed up with producer Tzarizm for the Via Satellite LP, this reputation of his has stayed consistent. If anything, the collaboration has kept in line nicely with both artists' track records. Even before Via Satellite, Planet Asia has been a frequent collaborating artist, never sacrificing his street credit for more money or musical mass appeal. Tzarizm, by this time a skilled producer, likewise is true to the underground in making the modest, elegant beats for the album. Via Satellite is not a soft album though. Planet Asia spits tough talk, hurls advanced lyricism, and plays multiple roles: the mobster, the poet, the lover, the soldier, the scientist, etc. Via Satellite also does a good job at showcasing numerous other underground emcees as guests: Killer Ben, Rockness Monstah, Midaz The Beast, Mylodic, Tristate, Montage One, Prodigal Sunn, Casual of Hieroglyphics, Purple Kloud, and Oh No. The album is a real guy's album. The braggadocio and machismo rule everything, but by far the best offering on the album is the advanced lyricism. Everyone's pen game is top notch, and the delivery is executed flawlessly. On the other hand, the music never really steps outside of its comfort zone, and doesn't offer many stories and lessons. The guys only describe characters, only paint pictures, and the cadences, tempo and rhyming patterns stay pretty much the same throughout. At the end of the day however, the strengths overpower the shortcomings of Via Satellite making for a real authentic underground treat.
August 4, 2014