Black Box Recordings (October 15, 2013)
Review by Stephen Maddox
Buy this album: iTunes
For several years, legendary emcee Shad has been building anticipation for his fourth full length album been waiting for a full length project from this legendary emcee for a few years now. Glad I waited. After releasing a few teaser EPs the last couple years, his fan base is more than ready. The Toronto-based MCâ€™s fourth record, Flying Colours, absolutely lives up to its name.
Production wise, this is a departure from his last major release TSOL. Flying Colours fuses airy, cloud like well orchestrated music with boom-bap sub woofer blasters. Some tracks play more like movie scores, but Shad proves his deft skill by maintaining his unique style over a variety of soundscapes. Intro: Lost instantly recalls classic tracks from Dream Warriors before Shad comes roaring in with his heavy laden metaphoric lyrical miracles like a hungry rhyme animal. When the beat drops… itâ€™s on, and Shad does some wild stuff.
With He Say She Say, the flood gates of dopeness fly open. The subject of broken relationship is a common one, but Shadâ€™s rhyme schemes provoke intense emotion, while the non-chorus chorus, horns, and piano runs is an absolutely beautiful thing to take in. Dreams keeps you flying high above the clouds while making some poignant social commentary:
We think ’till we’re emotional/Then drink until we’re sociable again/This whole century is sensory overload.
Progress Parts 1 & 2 are a well done ensemble piece which moves from spoken word, to a more standard Hip-Hop section and ends with a new age rock finale.
Some of Canada’s vets stop by as well. Saukrates sings the hook on Stylin’ while Shad puts on a lyrical clinic:
Running like a Kenyan cause Iâ€™m Kenyan (ask my mama)/ Yeah Iâ€™m running like a Kenyan see Iâ€™m running like Obama/ On that ticket, this is wicked as that Broadway play with the witches in it/T ell me whoâ€™s the sickest, kid Iâ€™m putting on a clinic – Listen
Eternia drops in on the track Love Means, and delivers a very heartfelt verse. The album ends with Epilogue: Long Jawn, a six plus minute verbal masterpiece. Can you say breath control?
With all the Canadian talent, it would have been great to see another Relic collaboration, since they compliment each other so well.
There is so much more to say, but know this: Flying Colours is a must buy. Definitely one of the top albums of the year.