Shad - TSOL

Album cover
Hip Hop
Black Box Records
Shad
TSOL
Shad - TSOL Review rating:
4.5
User rating:
Average: 5 (3 votes)

Canadian hip-hop artist – yes, Canadian hip-hop – Shad (short for Shadrach) is a breath of fresh air in a genre that’s complacent on recycling tired rhymes and themes that are redundant and seemingly plaintive. His songs subject to much more than just getting paid, getting laid, spending dough, and obtaining hoes, but revolve around a personal evaluation relating to the world around him. With tracks ranging from spiritual aspects, to personal, and even sometimes humorous, Shad is obviously attempting to revolutionize hip-hop. And well, he’s successful in doing so with his new album TSOL.

Three years following his second drop The Old Prince, an extremely enjoyable collection of thirteen solid tracks, Shad returns with even more flavor, and with a dose of purpose. Well worth the wait, TSOL has all of the elements of Shad’s last release, but is just that much better. He wastes no time getting to the point with “Rose Garden”. The chorus tells it all, which is pretty common with hip-hop, “I never promised you a rose garden, along with the sunshine, there’s gonna be some rain sometimes.” Like a father explaining to his son that life’s just never fair, Shad comforts his listener with realizing the truth of this life. His lyrics are always down-to-earth, and never does his head ever get too big, which reveals his unrelenting charm and likable humility. Who wants to listen to someone shouting how much better they are than everyone else (I’m looking at you Lil’ Wayne)?

While Shad’s rhymes are impeccable, the production is equally impressive. As the tracks shift into overdrive, the beats ebb and flow frenetically with just enough added effects. The bass is at perfect level for the purpose that Shad intended, which is to remain on the ground, instead of just allowing his voice to solely accentuate with little to show in the background. The producers of each track are sporadic, and the list is long, including DJ T Lo (“Rose Garden” and “Telephone”), Ric Notes (“Keep Shining” and “Call Waiting”), and Classified (“A Good Name”). Probably the biggest nod has to go to producers EOM and Me & John for their work with TSOL’s first single “Yaa I Get It”. The rhythm of the track keeps you on your toes with a more untraditional time signature, while conversely Shad remains cool, confident and collected.

Shad leads the way into this new appreciated return of underground hip-hop. Even though “rappers” like T.I., Lil’ Wayne, Soulja Boy, and so on dominate the Top 40, Shad and his compatriots are the true artists in a genre gone mad. TSOL is the perfect album to be lifted on a pedestal, and used as an example to those wanting to succeed in hip-hop.

1. Intro
2. Rose Garden
3. Keep Shining
4. Lucky 1’s
5. A Good Name
6. We Are the Ones (Reservoir Poetry)
7. Telephone
8. Call Waiting (Interlude)
9. Yaa I Get It
10. Listen
11. At the Same Time
12. We, Myself and I
13. Outro

Shadrach Kabango (born 1982), credited as Shad or Shad K, is a Canadian hip hop musician. Born in Kenya, of Rwandan parents, Shad was raised in London, Ontario. His mother worked in London as a hospital lab technician; his father, as a machinist. He attended London Central Secondary School.

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