With the delivery of these lyrics and the like, the listener can almost visualize Kota walking to and fro the earth, arms open liberating humanity with the message of love, hope, and positivity. This promise of a forthcoming freedom is a sentiment felt both in the lyrics as well as the beat. Because To Kill a Sunrise is a collaborative project between a highly conscient-minded emcee and an immensely communicative DJ/producer, the beats of this album cannot be considered mere backing for the lyrics. Instead, both Kota the Friend and Statik Selektah are sharing in the work of disseminating these messages, both of them center stage without stifling one another’s presentation. This is collaboration of the finest sort.
This album maintains a consistent tone and message from start to finish. All of the ten tracks are mellow, slow, contemplative pieces with the majority of them surrounding the themes of mental health, self-assurance, and perseverance. “Go Now”, a love song featuring a hook beautifully sung by Haile Supreme, is perhaps the only song that deviates from that central message. However, do not misunderstand consistency for monotony. Kota and Statik have enough to say about these topics to grapple with them from numerous different angles that remain fresh and interesting in every instance. The song “Hate” tells how negativity can be a motivator toward proving wrong one’s haters. “The Cold” is about existing upon oneself, formulating one’s own perception of the world, and cultivating one’s own treasure and sanctuary. “Live & Direct” is a success story of finding fulfillment in life by choosing goodness instead of propagating the same hurts one’s experienced themselves. Each track has its own proverb, its own kernel of wisdom, and each deserves its own attentive listening.
Perhaps the greatest accolade of this project is that it is unapologetically hopeful and wholesome without being even remotely trite or feeble. It may be the unhidden tellings of Kota’s own experiences of tragedy and trauma that give this buoyant gospel the grounding of reality. It’s the journey through hardship that surpasses blind optimism and promises a hope that these artists have truly found for themselves.
This album is a musical marvel and its levity is well-needed in a time such as this. So make sure to check out Kota the Friend and Statik Selektah’s To Kill a Sunrise available now wherever music is played, and follow @KotaTheFriend and @StatikSelekt on Instagram and Twitter.
For Razor Tongue Media,