Shad
TSOL


4.0
excellent

Review

by Scott Krasman USER (31 Reviews)
August 22nd, 2011 | 25 replies


Release Date: 2010 | Tracklist

Review Summary: "Maybe I'm not big because I don't blog or Twitter...dog, I'm bitter."

Canadian rapper Shad isn’t exactly a household name in the world of hip-hop yet – but that’s fine by him.

He has been steadily making a name for himself in the underground rap community, on the cusp between mainstream success and playing in high school auditoriums. With the release of his 2005 debut record When Is This Over, Shad’s original style of blending sarcastic humour with intelligent lyricism garnered him thousands of fans across the continent. He continued to grow in popularity after 2007’s The Old Prince even going so far as to spoof The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air in one of his music videos. It wasn’t until the release of TSOL in 2010 that Shad truly arrived in the hip-hop scene, marking the first time he’d made music since 2007. Fan reception was largely positive, and he was thrust into the limelight after being nominated for Rap Artist of the Year in the Juno Awards. Shad wasn’t expected to win, especially since he was going up against multiplatinum star Drake, but he was humble and thankful for the recognition. It came as a shock to everybody watching when Shad was chosen as the winner, including himself. People began to take notice of his ability to pull out a win utilizing underground resources, instead of the state-of-the-art facilities that Drake has access to.

What do we have in TSOL itself? It’s a highly-addictive set of tracks, highlighted by Shad’s charismatic delivery and undeniably catchy instrumentals. His smooth delivery accents the poetic lyrics perfectly, and at times it’s truly dazzling how he is able to captivate the listeners. It’s clear that Shad prides himself on being able to rap without swearing, and it’s that fact that makes this such an intriguing listen. Some of his lines and beats wouldn’t be out of place on early Nas material. The standout track on the album is “Yaa I Get It”, a three-minute and fifty-two second admittance of his lack of star quality. At the same time, however, he carries himself with swagger and a sense of self-confidence that shines through in his lyrics. Some of his best lines include “I didn’t have it on the flop, but I’ll win it on the river. Long as winter’s got me seasoned, I’m a non-beginner,” and “I make your head steam like a pet peeve, getcha neck squeezed till the breath leaves, got the finesse and the prestige.” The classic beat is perhaps the best on the album, an intoxicating mix of orchestral strings and bass. It’s best experienced while watching the black-and-white music video, showing Shad parading around his hometown of London, Ontario grinning like the Cheshire Cat all the while.

There are flaws, however, that weren't really showing through in his earlier material. Some of the beats are simply too ambitious for a rapper of Shad’s style. He is generally at his best when the beat serves as a backdrop to his lyrics as opposed to dominating the mix and forcing him to play up. An example of this is on the track We, Myself and I, where a beat supplied by Broken Social Scene is just too busy and doesn’t allow Shad to access his true lyrical potential. Also, some of the choruses are a little lacking in feel and a fair amount of the overall charm found on his earlier releases has been sacrificed for more complex instrumentals. That being said, the verses are still stellar and Shad’s flow can only be described as effortless at times. Despite the few nagging missteps, this is one of the best hip-hop albums of 2010. Shad’s charisma is undeniable, and the overall feel of the lyrics mixed with the impressive instrumentals is nothing short of excellent. With the well-deserved win at the Juno Awards, he should start to creep into the mainstream scene a little more. Whether that’s a good thing or not is an entirely different question.



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user ratings (104)
Chart.
3.9
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
Scoot
August 22nd 2011


17887 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

fucking stupid computer didn't want me to write this. turned off once, and then this fucking site logged me out when i went to submit it a second time.

Digging: Renounced - The Melancholy We Ache

Aids
Contributing Reviewer
August 22nd 2011


23973 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

nice youre reviewing again. "The Old Prince" rules so I should probably check this out.

Digging: Taylor Swift - 1989

Scoot
August 22nd 2011


17887 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

it's not quite as good but still definitely worth a listen.

Deviant.
Staff Reviewer
August 22nd 2011


31493 Comments


Yeah, this is quite good

Digging: Hyperdub - Hyperdub 10.4

robertsona
Staff Reviewer
August 22nd 2011


15070 Comments


rose garden is my shit

Scoot
August 22nd 2011


17887 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

yeah that's up there in terms of quality, i just love his attitude on yaa

Aids
Contributing Reviewer
August 22nd 2011


23973 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

"The Old Prince Still Lives at Home" is one of the funniest/my favourite rap tracks ever. Hilarious.

"Like why's a brotha need a dentist?" "It's EXPENSIVE!" "My gums bleed, they do everytime he scrubs em clean. Then he'll probably recommend braces, that's another G!|

Aids
Contributing Reviewer
August 22nd 2011


23973 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

or something

iFghtffyrdmns
August 22nd 2011


7047 Comments


"Shad’s original style of blending sarcastic humour with intelligent lyricism..."
I sort of fail to see how this is "original" exactly, but that could just me. Maybe I'm just prejudiced against most rap and hip-hop cause i'm a dick. or racist.


Good review though scoot. That line in the summary is actually kinda funny haha

Scoot
August 22nd 2011


17887 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

it's hard to proclaim originality for anything nowadays, people expect everything to be a carbon copy of the classics.

iFghtffyrdmns
August 22nd 2011


7047 Comments


i'm gonna make a record just from mashing together the sounds of crushing cars and necrophiliac acts (not by me I'll just record them) and then play a jew harp over it and it's gonna be original.
you just watch me.

Scoot
August 22nd 2011


17887 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

that just sounds like something drew speziale would make

MrSenior
August 22nd 2011


212 Comments


Solid review, Scoot. Pos'd. I love Shad b/c of pretty much all he stands for- intelligent, thought-provoking, hip-hop. Plus, this album is quite nice to listen to.

My only problem is that b/c he is so lyrical, it's hard to have this as background music.

Scoot
August 22nd 2011


17887 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

cheers brah

Tupik
August 22nd 2011


673 Comments


Somehow I never managed to listen to this all the way through, even though I really like The Old Prince and When This Is Over...

I'll give it another try soon, nice review.

random
August 22nd 2011


2270 Comments


I was going to follow Shad on Twitter, then I realized he doesn't have one.

lobby
August 22nd 2011


1251 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

album is full of happiness

bloc
August 22nd 2011


35010 Comments


Definitely getting this

Digging: The Birthday Massacre - Superstition

TheSpirit
August 22nd 2011


17990 Comments


my friend is really into this guy, i'll probably check this out. good review

Digging: The Speed of Sound in Seawater - Red Version

MrSnuffles
August 22nd 2011


112 Comments


Glad this got a review



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