Shad – Flying Colours

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Black Box Recordings: 2013

Just in time for his tour across Canada, Shad comes through with his latest solo album, Flying Colours. This Kenyon-born, Canadian raised rapper has always kept a steady flow of soulful, thought-provoking rhymes on various styles of beats with songs like “Rose Garden” and “Yaa I Get It” from TSOL, “I Get Down” from When This is Over, and “Brother (Watching)” from his sophomore album, The Lost Prince. Shad’s rhyme schemes match perfect with the underground and soul-funk beats, but he’s gone even further on this album. Flying Colours gives listeners a variety of sounds that range from Shad’s familiar underground raps, to freestyles, and he even displays his singing ability on a rock-based track. This album shows that he can easily adapt to a multitude of styles all while keeping a voice similar to the one Shad fans are used to hearing.

Shad keeps his easy-going style on Flying Colours with songs like “Lost” (featuring K Os, Lisa Lobsinger, Kamau). The intro gives off an orchestral vibe and is relaxed start to the record.  From there, the mood shifts to a simple beat with a solid riff in “Yall Know Me” and smoothly transitions to his bread and butter: a soulful, funky beat in “Fam Jam (Fe Sum Immigrins)”. Most of the songs on this album have completely different feelings to them. Some make you want to just sit down and reminisce and others make you want to put on some Ray Bans and do the Carlton, but while the beats may change there is one constant: Shad’s ability to deliver flawless lines.

He doesn’t have a flashy flow, but he sticks to the basics of old school hip-hop with flurries of rhymes and constant alliterations. This album shows Shad’s poise as an experienced MC. He doesn’t seem to constrain his rhymes within the confines of each bar and the listener can truly appreciate the messages he sends. Shad always seems to feel comfortable on every track he spits on. On his previous albums, he seemed to keep his rhymes within each bar, but Flying Colours shows a matured artist that goes well past the simple rhyme schemes.

Shad shows his prowess in delivering his rhymes how he sees fit instead of following the standard rhyme scheme that you always see on the mainstream scene and, quite frankly, it’s relieving. On his track “Progress”, he gives a freestyle-like deliverance bringing to attention the importance of the words in his song. Then there is the song “Stylin” featuring Saukrates, that has mainstream potential and makes you wonder how far Shad can really go. Some people may deem it as a negative that he has more or less the same sound on all his albums, but it just shows that he’s found his voice and is able to run with it… all without swearing. Props to you, man.

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3.5 out of 5

You can buy Flying Colours on Amazon.

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