John F. Kennedy:
The moon and the planets are there.
And new hopes for knowledge and peace are there.
And therefore as we set sail...

Above the Clouds is a track off Gang Starr's 1998 Moment of Truth, a seminal work featuring Wu Tang's Inspectah Deck, best remembered for its magnificent sampling. Deck's presence is never mistaken, and here his lyrical dynamism comes in the context of his classic opening to Wu Tang's 1997 classic Triumph. Nonetheless, it's the memorable opening sampling that steals the show here, juxtaposing obscure sci-fi film samples with John F. Kennedy's recalling a 1960s NASA embarkation as humanity's "most hazardous, and dangerous, and greatest adventure".

Illustrious feature, narrator you select
Accompanied by Deck plus the DJ you respect

Deck's appearance here is especially prescient, his representing Wu-Tang seeming to predict what proved to lie beyond the supergroup. The gangsta rap that underlied the Wu Tang corpus found itself aging swiftly, diverging into either a hip hop more explicitly preferring sampling as the meat of its sound, or that universally marketable rap-rock fusion that Linkin Park would later mine and Jay-Z would later exploit. Above the Clouds was a bridge demarcating what was from what could be, Wu-Tang Clan from a hip hop basing itself not on lyrical virtuosity and crude menace, but rather lyrical virtuosity and deft sampling. Oh, there were still pure things sneaking into the public eye, perhaps not effectively cross-marketable but nonetheless immensely popular and incomparably slick.

Inspectah Deck:
On the mic like Moses spoke in golden scribe
Survivor of the oldest tribe whose soldiers died I notified families
We shed tears and more but our hands are the ammo cause the battle's still on
Sound the horn; we come rumblin through the function
Precise laser beam technique to touch somethin
When we die hard, they build a monument to honor us with
Humongous effect in the world we could have conquered it