This intergalactic expedition spans nine cohesive yet distinct songs, and tells the listener as much about Blake Anthony personally as it speaks about the theme of intellectual deliverance. Born in Topeka, Kansas, Anthony has spent seasons of his life all over the United States and even overseas. Because Blake Anthony has not been grounded to any one geography, he has collected a diverse array of artistic influences. For instance, the album’s cosmic nature invokes the pulp sci-fi genre of the late 1960’s, but Anthony also frequently references animes like Dragon Ball Z and Death Note. This blending of influences is also heard in Anthony’s musical performance. In the opening number “Big Rolls”, Anthony melodically sings through the bridge in a manner reminiscent of Bone Thugs. In the same song he mentions Master P. (by given name Percy Miller) and pays homage to the New Orleans emcee by implementing a similar few-syllable, multi-spaced flow. West Coast influences are also found, like the Nate Dogg-esque easiness of “Blacked Out” and the plucked Jazz guitar in “Blue Wave” bringing shades of Dr. Dre. What’s most enjoyable about these homages and invocations is that in none of them does Anthony simply imitate. In all of these modes he remains true to himself and the listener learns that Anthony is the synergistic product of all of these creative guides.
This album mostly brings a contemplative vibe. The songs aren’t of slow tempo and they definitely have drumlines that bounce, but Star Stereo would pair better with a ‘chill and think’ than a dip at the club. True to its name, this album makes the listener want to step outside under the star-studded night sky, look up into the universe and muse.
Despite the laid back tone, however, Anthony’s lyrics can be very stirring. Though he serves the narrative as a guru of sorts, Anthony is generous to share that he’s not without his own frustrations and stresses. He tells of a stir crazy mania in “Dark Cry” and of displacement and transience in “Doss”. He doesn’t present himself as one who has always hovered above the rat race of life, but rather as one who has broken free and beckons others to join him. This is best displayed in “Black Saiyan”, in which the hook is:
“My ni**a, we us/ No chains no need for you to free us/ God brain flowing cosmic off the reefer/
Super Saiyan, Super Saiyan, Super!”
Referencing Dragon Ball Z’s mythos of the Super Saiyan, a being who has transcended natural limits into outrageous strength, Anthony likens freedom of conscience (especially Black conscience) to untamable power.
With 2020’s bombardment of tragedy and constant unrest, perhaps what we all need is to deprogram, unplug from the system, and blast off into higher unhindered intelligence. Like the fictitious radio broadcast within the album’s narrative, Star Stereo offers its listeners a chance to shatter the bonds of distraction and truly live. Beyond a must-listen, this album is a must-experience, so make sure to tune your dial to Star Stereo and prepare for takeoff!
You can follow Blake Anthony on Facebook and Instagram at @blakeanthny and visit his website at afrogalactic.com. Star Stereo is available on Spotify and Youtube Music.
For Razor Tongue Media,