Friday, June 11, 2010

Shad - TSOL: Album Review

Shadrach Kabango hails from Canada. He has a natural talent for making pure inspirational hip-hop music. A lot of exciting emcees are coming out of Canada right now including K-Os and K-Naan. Shad is just as good as those artists. TSOL is his third album released at the end of May 2010. Check out his music:Themes:

How many people try to emulate the likes of Talib Kweli and it comes off sounding forced? Shad dosn't fall into that trap. This is uplifting music, but it's not corny. He comes with plenty of witty wordplay and strong punchlines. Clearly Shad has spent years working on his craft. Theres an authentic feel to the lyrics. He mainly focus's on his own view of the world. A lot of the music is getting to know the artist's perspective on life. He's also that good he could handle the best battle rappers with ease. It's the type of hip-hop where you'll sit there thinking 'cool, i know where he's going with this', only for him to flip his lines into something crazy or clever.


The production is very similar in style to Kanye West's gospel-soul style of hip-hop. The standard of beats is astonishing considering the producers are virtually unknown, even in underground hip-hop circles. DJ T-Lo, Ric Notes, Relic the Oddity and others handle production. If Lupe or Common find out about this album surely they will make use of these talented producers. Shad belongs in that class of artist. "Rose Garden" is catchy as hell, sampling that gospel element made popular by the neo-soul movement of Dilla. In fact, even the video serves as a homage to The Pharcyde's "Drop" in quite a humourous fashion.

The album opens up with a relaxing instrumental that uses a slow drum beat and scratches to maintain that hip-hop sound. Then it breaks into "Rose Garden", which feels like you've been asleep only to wake up to a heatwave. "Keep Shining" keeps those big band sounds and is consitant with the spirtual vibes of the music. The album is thirteen tracks long and feels like it breaks into two parts. The opening part of the album is pure cheerful soul, an interlude seperates these sounds to the latter part of the lp. "Listen" and "At The Same Time" are slightly more introspective and minimalistic in their instrumentation. "We Myself And I" and "Outro" are more guitar orientated with slower tempos. Shad shows his versatility by switching between these styles.



Just below classic status. Shad is one to watch because i feel that theres a perfect album in him someday. 'Til then bump this because it comes so close. This is the best album of the year since Panacea and Nas set the bar just a month ago. The Roots are coming soon with their effort and hopefully they can reach this standard as one of the highlights of 2010 in hip-hop.

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