Beats, instrumentals, loops are all important facets of hip-hop culture, yet somehow still after all this time, the sounds of hip-hop are overlooked and underrated in favor of “bangers”. Even classics like Dilla’s “Donuts” or the more recent “Petestrumentals 2” have many hip-hop fans deeming these projects as “dope beats”. However I challenge you to open your ears and mind a bit, to see how these artists aren’t just putting together sounds, it’s much bigger than that.
Enter Boston’s Rah Zen, who’s varied instrumentals and sounds are meant to evoke more than “yo this is dope”, he wants to take you somewhere with his album “Midnight Satori”. From the first track “Lunar Eclipse” to the title track closer, I immediately got a Flying Lotus “You’re Dead” vibe. Rah Zen pulls elements from in and outside of hip-hop, the vinyl crackle, the vocal samples and more all come together to make a cohesive project, that is diverse enough to have you going back and listening again, recognizing facets of the music you didn’t before.
“Midnight Satori” doesn’t attack your ears with booming bass drops and high hats, but rather encourages a state of relaxation and reflection. Light snares and ambient bass lines give the album a flow that eases you into the experience and craving more. “Astral Love” is probably my favorite track on this and it’s only heartbreaking because it’s a mere 70 seconds long, but those 70 seconds had me in my feels and playing the joint back when those three simple words drop “I love you.”
“Midnight Satori” is one of my favorite projects from this year, Rah Zen’s approach to his music and art is different from most and it comes out in the music. My suggestion is take this in your late night hours when you can’t sleep and let this play. I genuinely feel you can get some type of meditation or relaxation out of “Midnight Satori”, it is an album to be experienced not just beats compiled to sound “dope”. You can stream “Midnight Satori” out now courtesy of DomeOfDoom Records.