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Chicago, Illinois, United States | INDIE

Chicago, Illinois, United States | INDIE
Band Hip Hop Hip Hop


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The Good: Another outstanding debut album for our enjoyment
The Bad: Some may grow turned off by Katalyst’s influences…

Lyrics/Message: Katalyst opens the album with a moving snippet from John Piper which does a good job of setting the tone carried throughout the rest of the album - Jesus’ glorious death by design. One thing I enjoy about Katalyst is the content of his rap. While a lot of the content is typical “Christian rap content”, Katalyst does a good job of taking a different angle and just generally making somewhat overused topics sound really good.

Production/Sound: Ha ha ha! There were about 3 tracks that reminded me of a Kanye album, which kept me interested (Katalyst/Kanye West, both from Chicago - I’m starting to like the artists that blow up out of the Windy City!). With the Timbaland and Dr. Dre of Christian producers behind the beats (K-Drama and Tony Stone, respectively lol) and the US and UK’s finest Lecrae and Dwayne Tryumpf on collabs - Katalyst did one heck of a job in rounding out this album for some serious consideration. And with everything from slower melodies (Come Back Home, Travelling, Die if I Have To) to hard bangers (Death by Design, I Got Proof), there are definitely PLENTY tracks to tickle your fancy.

Overall: Death by Design immediately ascends to being named one of the best debut albums in the history of Holy Hip Hop. Thought-provoking, relevant lyrics, masterful production, and a wise selection of collaborations make Katalyst’s Death by Design a truly buzzworthy album.

- vesselvibe.com

Romans 6:9-11 (KJV) “Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him. For in that he died, he died unto sin once...Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin…”
Christ alone subjected Himself to the limited form of His creation, fulfilled the standard He set before time, laid His life down according to plan, and returned to His eternal seat of glory. In doing so, He left the Church an example for navigating through life properly. Death By Design is the debut project from Katalyst that focuses on Christ and his purpose- full death as well as the people for whom the pattern was left.
Getting right into the record, the Intro is a powerful excerpt of a John Piper sermon that discusses the importance of the fact that Christ’s death was not incidental or circumstantial by any means.

Christ painted the picture of creation and understood that He Himself would be the only way for sinful man to reconnect with God before He set time in motion. The title track, “Death By Design”, discusses the necessity for people in and outside of the faith to submit to Christ through daily death. This is crucial because there is a need to dispel the notion that submitting one’s life to Christ is a one prayer process. Daily dying to flesh and its passions is necessary since we are not empowered to defeat it in one shot the same way as God the Son. “Thinkin’ Bout” features one of the best beats I’ve heard in my lifetime as a backdrop for the subject of mortifying the flesh. The hook says all that needs to be said:

"I've been thinkin’ about how I'm gone live my life/ (question) and how I'm gone live like Christ/ (I’m guessin) I gotta die to my pride/ die to my life, I gotta die by design!"

Next up on the tracklist is a couple of “in ya grill” tracks, “I Need The Truth” and “U Kiddin’ Me?” featuring Mimik, which challenges the church to examine its responsibility as Christ’s bride. “U Kiddin’ Me?” focuses on the lightweight doctrines that many believers have ascribed to- a partial result of failure to completely die to this world’s vain ambitions- and the need to die to such inconsistencies. A track that will leave many reaching for the repeat button is “Come Back Home”, which features a rapid flow from both Katalyst and Decipha, an introspective look at some of the things that were put in the casket on the road of redemption. Decipha seemingly fit 48 bars into the time allotted for 16 and to catch everything that he said, you may have to call up DJ Primo! “Traveling” is a standout track because of its focus on the necessity of dying to your past in order to discard the baggage of previous offenses and struggles. This definitely covers and angle of the design of death that is seldom discussed in such a sound manner.

Katalyst sponsored several segments on the Wade- O Radio Show, including the Dancehall pick of the week, and it is in this vein “Preach Christ” flows. He spits a methodical three verses, as Tyrone Andrew provides the reggae- influenced hook, advising of the fact that salvation is found in Christ alone. The fact that our being is found in Christ alone leads into “Satisfied”, a song that focuses on the unmerited grace and love which feels the cup of any true follower of His will. The lead single off of the DBD, “Die I Have To”, is an anthem of sorts to those who heed the Holy Spirit’s words of wisdom, fully willing to die in all senses of the word. Paul Washington is perfect on the hook for this song and displays the right passion to drive the song home. “Find A Way”, featuring the always solid Dwayne Tryumf, is a sobering track that reflects on the selflessness of Christ as He agreed to carry the full burden of our sin. Katalyst basically speaks directly to the listener and falls right in line with the fact that this project is for any in or outside of Christ.

We as humans are born into the comfort of the sin nature we come packaged with. When we come to Christ, leaving the former things to conform to His image, it becomes a difficult existence that doesn’t guarantee the prosperity of temporal things. “Ready To Die” speaks on this, as well as persecution, and is yet another track that brings focus to the fullness of who Christ truly is. Katalyst brings death to the idea that an artist is allowed to put weaker tracks toward the end of the album with “I Got Proof”. Using a sample of a famous song by Da’ T.R.U.T.H., the authenticity of the resurrection and thriving status of Christ is championed by Katalyst and Lecrae. Another anthem of sorts for those who have transitioned from being in and of the world to in and of Christ is “Goodbye”. This definitely could be one of those songs that make for a humbling music video (Katalyst make it happen!). In order to sew up the project, Katalyst challenges those who prayed the sinner’s prayer and/ or regular church attendees to examine whether or not they’re really in the Faith with “I’m Saved” and ends - dasouth.com

Message: 4.5/5
Music: 4/5
Replay Value: 4/5
Overall: 4/5

So now we know what “Killing Sin” would’ve sounded like if someone in 116 Clique had did it. While he’s not actually a member, you’d think otherwise, and a cosign a co-sign from Lecrae doesn’t help. Actually it does?? newcomer Katalyst’s debut has the look , feel and quality we’ve come to expect from his peers at Reach and CMR. Opening up with an excerpt from a Paul Washer sermon set’s the tone for the album with Brother Paul reminding us every biblical event was done “According To Plan.”

Following that Katalyst takes the mic, he waste no time to get his point across, provoking us with commentary on sinfulness and redemption through Christ on the album-titled track. The album cruises along smoothly with few speed bumps. On “Come Back Home” he spits a verse that can only be described as T-Pain meets Twista, try and keep up.

After the lyrical tongue twister, he catches his breath on the next couple tracks as the pace slows. The weak points in this album were few far and between. “Preach Christ” has a great message, but out of three tracks using auto-tune this is possibly the weakest musically. The hook isn’t exactly easy on the ears and probably would sound better sans Vocoder. With Paul Washington on the hook “Die If I Have To” is one of the many highlights on the album. This is the song were everything that could go right goes right, from beat selection to flow to content, everything works.

HHH favorite, Lecrae shows face on “I Got Proof” which argues the existence of Christ and the infallibility of scripture. Not to be outdone Kat’ holds his own with the vet on this banger. “Goodbye” closes out the album according to the CD’s booklet, however he blesses us again with a gem on the I’m Saved/Not Saved. Pitting the actions of self-proclaimed Christians against actual salvation, he inspires listeners to take a look at their own walks. He closes the album out with another excerpt from a familiar Paul Washer sermon.

Katalyst spending the majority of his album reiterating message we should remember from Sunday School. But don’t get it twisted, he’s not beating a dead horse, though the message is old, his sound is anything but, as he is assisted by production from G-Styles, K-Drama and Tony Stone among others. This release has a modern sound and great content, Death By Design could easily have passed as the latest 116 Clique release. What puts this album in that echelon is the relative ease he breezes through subjects throughout several unique sounding tracks without seeming out of his element.

Bonafide Bangers: I Got Proof, Die If I Have To & I’m Saved/Not Saved

Topics: Sinfluness, Redemption, Salvation, Properity Gospel, Evolution, Contentfulness (is that even a word?), Death and Infallibility of Scripture

Quote Worthy

“Witnesses holdin their report//Got them killed still they held on//Cause what they knew was no mistake//Got crucified, burned at the stake//if this was the truth then dude I’d say//Would you die for what you knew was fake?”
“Arguments don’t make no sense//How you gon convince me that I’m simply a product of chance//that the Big Bang came and made a monkey that done made a man?”
“.. I come to where you live so I can ease by you//to tell you we were in Adam and when Eve’s by you//we ate the fruit and now like in Eve’s Bayou//we die now and later so we die times two//”
“No matter how much you give you can’t pay for your sins”
“Death chasin you and no you can’t outrun it”
“we go to church, sing songs actin’ like we innocent//last night those same lips was singin’ with 50 Cent//”

- http://theloungechair.blogspot.com/

It's probably safe to say everyone knows what a catalyst is, but to really be safe, let's consult Merriam-Webster:

catalyst: an agent that provokes or speeds significant change or action

Replace the "c" with a "K" and we are presented with a 22 year-old man from the Chi with an incredible zeal for making Christ known through music. As you likely ascertained from the album art, Katalyst's Death by Design is a somber, earnest, and thoughtful debut offering. Death by Design primarily centers on two themes: the death of Christ and consequently, the exhortation to his followers to die daily to themselves and the world in order to follow him faithfully.

Admittedly, this is quite an ambitious and weighty overarching theme for a debut album. Thankfully, Katalyst proves himself capable on mic and his zeal for Christ and producing disciples is downright infectious.

While capable of holding his own, Katalyst rounds up some impressive guest spots including UK's finest, Dwayne Tryumf and Reach Records' Lecrae, though lesser known artists like Mimik and Decipha make some big contributions as well. Even more crucial to the album is the stellar group of producers who contributed to the project including Alex Medina, K-Drama, EMJ, G-Styles, and Tony Stone.

Backed by some stellar, diverse production, Death by Design is not only a success in regard to its dense Christ-centered content but also in its execution.

The album begins with “According to Plan,” a stirring excerpt from a John Piper sermon which paves the way for Katalyst to set the table for the album with the title track, "Death By Design," an anthem that will smash the incorrect assumptions of lukewarm Christians, correct false teaching, and reveal the gospel of Christ in an in-your-face passionate way. I love this track simply because it declares to the glory of God’s redemptive plan in Christ while encouraging listeners to die daily in order to follow Christ.

"U Kiddin' Me" is one of several heavy street joints. On this song, Katalyst teams up with Mimik to correct false doctrines and beliefs within the church and the hood. These brothers demonstrate some palpable chemistry and I hope this is just one of many tracks they bless in the future.

Another hard-hitting track is "I Got Proof" featuring Lecrae. Producer Alex Medina skillfully flips a vintage line from Da T.R.U.T.H., crafting a hype anthem for Katalyst and Lecrae to get their Jude 3 on, that is, contending for the faith. This is the type of track that'll make you wanna run through a wall to preach Christ.

While Death by Design has its fair share of bangers, Katalyst wisely employs a significant amount of melodic and soulful tracks as well. Featuring a set of smooth synths and faint keys, "Preach Christ" sports the unique blend of autotune and a reggae-influenced hook. The combo works surprisingly well as Katalyst comes hard, spitting some moving gospel-centered sixteens on the sufficiency of proclaiming Christ alone.

Additional noteworthy tracks also include the uptempo number "Come Back Home," the stirring autotune ballad "Find A Way" and the Christ-exalting anthem "Satisfied".

While the good certainly outweighs the bad/mediocre, Death by Design is not without flaws or blemish; at times, Katalyst is merely average and some beats and hooks, though well intended, fall flat (“I’m Saved” features the same dope sample as theBreax’s “For What” but is horribly flipped).

Still, I think many would agree that most albums, particularly debuts, lack direction and vision. Death by Design is not one of those albums. Katalyst’s debut is impressively cohesive and weighty as it oscillates between thick, grimy, street joints and soulful, uptempo counterparts.

Content-wise, Katalyst’s passion and truth may be uncomfortable for listeners to deal with. This is the good type of uncomfortable, the kind that speaks truth, convicts, and corrects in the hopes of producing repentance in Christ. Many listeners will enjoy this particular facet of Katalyst’s truth-speaking, some will probably dislike certain doctrinal stances (ex. election) the young artist affirms. Thankfully, the album isn’t 17 tracks of Katalyst exalting doctrine, it’s 17 tracks of Katalyst exalting Jesus through proper teaching.

The album closes in an appropriate way with an poignant and convicting excerpt from preacher Paul Washer’s “Shocking Message” (YouTube it, folks) giving listeners a convicting challenge to submit fully to Christ. It’s totally fitting that the last sounds from Death by Design are ones that force you to examine who you are in relation to Jesus and call you to submit to him.

Death by Design may take a few listens to fully grow on you, but this album has a lot to offer to the spiritual-carnivores, the spiritual-milk drinkers, and the non-churched as well.

Read more: http://www.rapzilla.com/rz/content/view/1474/112/#ixzz0W6xXAjPg - Rapzilla.com

Album Overview

Focused. That is the first word that comes to mind when I listen to this album. Katalyst went into this project with a one track mind: mortification of the flesh. This album was not self-denigrating, but it put everything in perspective of Christ and who we are as His representatives – the Church. I believe the intention behind this album was to get believers to see the seriousness of sin and its effect on our relationship with Christ. If you give this album a listen you will be able to hear his heart; you will be able to hear the frustration caused by false teachers, lazy Christians (in terms of studying to show themselves approved), as well as bringing to light people that claim to be Christian but deny Christ in every way through their actions/inaction. I really appreciate the mindset of this album; you’ll hear it in almost every song; normally that becomes repetitive and will cause people to tune it out; but in this case, it is the call for every Christian; it is a plea we cannot ignore; dying to self in order to represent Christ and let the Spirit of God have an effective work in our lives; that is something we all need to chew on.

Lyrically, I was impressed. I knew Katalyst could bring it because I heard him on some other tracks. Katalyst didn’t disappoint on this project either. If you like punch lines, he’s got plenty. If you are into lyricists that bring analogies, he’s got those too. Katalyst puts different flows into effect in this body of work, and any emcee can recognize this brother has skill. There were a few times I had to back up the track to catch some of the lines, and that is a big plus to me because I enjoy having to figure the puzzle laid out through wordplay. I would say Katalyst is about five notches above average in lyrical skill; he hasn’t made it into my top 10 of lyricists, but he did well enough to make me take notice and look forward to his next release.

I have to admit, production wise this album was average. Only one track comes to mind, "Come Back Home," that just bangs and gets the head going ’til the neck starts to hurt; the track is insanely hot! There are a few other tracks that have decent production but most weren’t anything that stood out. On a few of the tracks the music is turned up to the point that the vocals are drowned out; as much as I am a fan of the music I am also a fan of the vocalism, so that was a drawback for me. Another drawback was the usage of vocal effects. I can deal with a little reverb, but when the voice gets morphed and you no longer here the artist and all you hear are the production techniques it is a turn-off. You have to hear it for yourself. If you enjoy this new rage of digitized voices and Autotune you won’t be bothered at all, but personally I think it should’ve been left alone after Roger Troutmann and Zapp did it back in the late 1970s & early 1980s. Once again, that is just my opinion.

Spiritual Significance

Death By Design is full of meat. It’s meant for grown folks and the babies in Christ alike. As I’ve already alluded to, dying to the flesh and it’s lustful desires is the cry of this album. Unless you are living right and working out your salvation, there are no feel good songs on this album; that is a good thing! If you do fall into the group of Christians striving for the mark of the high calling in Christ then this album will serve as a constant reminder that we are at war with our flesh every second; we can never relax; we must remain vigilant and focused on Christ if we are to make it through with our salvation intact.

One of the first songs that stands out for me is "Thinkin Bout;" it focuses on the difference between what we testify about and confess with our mouth versus what we live out day to day. There is also the recurring mantra of dying to self in order to give God the top priority in our lives. What I like about this song is that instead of just pointing out the problem, he also gives the solution: replacing the death we’ve inherited with life through ingesting the Word. Another noteworthy song is the title track "Death By Design." Listening to this song brings up the question of distinction between believers and the rest; where is the peculiarity that is supposed to be the trademark of God’s chosen people? Death By Design attacks the issues of Christians chasing materialism, denying Christ through our actions, the lack of the Holy Spirit’s effectual ministry in our life, and our divorcing the Body of Christ and not the world.

Lately the body has come under attack because of the feel good preachers. Typically preachers that will preach blessing after blessing without acknowledging the caveats that accompany the blessings. With all of the messages of “good news” and blessing, the church has garnered a lot of attention, but the problem is that people are in church attendance to see what they can get and not in attendance to meet Christ. To make matters worse, the “prosperity” minist - trailblazin ministries


Death By Design - Album - available on Itunes, Amazon, Lala, Emusic, Amie Street, and many more.
Legacy volume 1
Legacy volume 2
The body E.P.



Since his international release of Death By Design in march of 2009, Katalyst has been busy touring the country, starting a label (legacy music), and growing as an artist. Making many radio and magazine appearances on the way, Katalyst is grateful for the success of the album to date and is excited for what the future holds. Katalyst is known not only for his passion for the message he presents but also for his passion for music which becomes clearly evident on CD and on stage. A natural showman he strives to use his gifts to help the world see a more excellent way.

Having been born in New York and living in 3 other states and another country before he settled with his family in Chicago, adaptation and creativity are a part of his nature. Always thinking looking for something new to challenge himself with Katalyst doesn't see an end only the journey. Currently working on his follow up to his highly successful debut and crafting artist on the legacy music roster Katalyst has alot on his plate.