Shad
Flying Colours


3.5
great

Review

by Vincent A. USER (10 Reviews)
October 14th, 2013 | 36 replies


Release Date: 10/15/2013 | Tracklist

Review Summary: A confident, refreshingly honest hip-hop album by an artist who knows exactly how to utilize their strengths.

In a CBC track-by-track commentary promoting Shad’s new album “Flying Colours”, interviewer George Stroumboulopoulos insisted to Shad that he is no longer the underdog, and questioned how this alteration of hierarchy within the hip-hop canon affected his approach when recording the new album. Shad responded that he approached the record trying to be ambitious, but yet incorporated a degree of “thoughtfulness”-or in other words, practiced a conscious respect for the audience that attempts not to waste their time.

Has Shad reached the point in his career where he is no longer considered an underdog in the rap game? Certainly, at 31 years old and with a prized Canadian Juno award under his belt (with a win over Drake no less), a case can be made that he has in fact reached a degree of mainstream success, particularly in Canada. Yet, his success in the States has been far from chart-topping. He is still undeniably regarded as a rapper of underground-level status that has yet to truly breakthrough into the mainstream radio-rap sphere. The recent mass success of socially conscious rappers (particularly Macklemore) suggest that Shad may have an opportunity with this new release to earn a greater level of recognition within the realm of mainstream hip-hop.

Also interesting is Shad’s notion of “thoughtfulness.” Rarely does “Flying Colours” venture into anything experimental, but Shad is certainly tackling tracks with greater thematic weight than what we’ve seen from his past records. The standout track “Fam Jam (Fe Sum Immigrins)” is a conversational, personal account of his experience with racism and immigration. His flow and amiable-yet-rebellious persona recall a young “College Dropout” era Kanye West. It might be Shad’s most accomplished track to date, and is easily the most memorable moment on the album.

Shad’s style is refreshingly honest and seems entirely reflective of Shad’s persona. There is little in the way of bravado, and when it rears its head on “Stylin,” its more playful and whimsical than characteristic of some perverse desire to be king of the rap game. Shad has always relied on the strength of his stream of consciousness lyricism, but they are put to greater use with the record’s emphasis on conceptual narratives. Many of the tracks are grounded by a unifying concept, including the previously mentioned immigration as well as fame (“Dreams”) and women (“He Say, She Say”). The emphasis on songs structured around a single theme prove to be a welcome evolution for Shad, yet can sometimes feel a bit forced and risk to sacrifice the playful aesthetic which Shad consistently thrives on.

Shad's desire to remain ambitious deserves a certain degree of respect, and suggests that breaking into the mainstream isn't of primary concern. On the final track of the album titled “Epilogue,” Shad raps, “They’re waiting on that hit like Phil Collins with a drumset.” One gets the feeling that if Shad wanted too, he already could have created a smash-hit. But an album of pop-hits would risk not only alienating his passionate fanbase, but even more importantly, would see Shad not being true to himself as an artist. It seems that sacrificing artistic integrity for the sake of recognition is not something Shad is even remotely concerned with, and “Flying Colours,” while sometimes not as immediately resonant as prior releases, is a carefully crafted, passionate effort that is exactly what its creator intended it should be. Fans of Shad’s prior work, and hip-hop in general, will find a lot to like here.



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user ratings (42)
Chart.
3.8
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
Pavelboca
October 14th 2013


82 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

And here's the stream:

http://music.cbc.ca/#/blogs/2013/10/Shad-and-Strombos-track-by-track-guide-to-Flying-Colours

Definitely worth a listen!

Pavelboca
October 14th 2013


82 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

accidental double post

Omaha
Staff Reviewer
October 14th 2013


10284 Comments

Album Rating: 4.1

wow, very nice for only having written three reviews. Props!

Pavelboca
October 14th 2013


82 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Thanks! I have some prior experience with album reviews- but it's fun to start writing again.

mryrtmrnfoxxxy
October 15th 2013


13341 Comments


the u in colors tickles me every dam time

i assume this sounds like dark time sunshine????

Digging: Weezer - Everything Will Be Alright in the End

YourDarkAffected
Contributing Reviewer
October 15th 2013


1675 Comments


congrats on the feature!

AtomicWaste
Staff Reviewer
October 15th 2013


2005 Comments


Thought this was a new Flying Colors album. I am disappoint.

Digging: Thank You Scientist - Maps of Non-Existent Places

PistolPete
October 15th 2013


3629 Comments


Fucking

love

Shad

POS

Digging: O'Brother - Garden Window

tommygun
October 15th 2013


24989 Comments


sweet rev man pos

pls stick around

Brostep
Staff Reviewer
October 15th 2013


3471 Comments


Only heard of Shad through his Lights features, but this looks good so I'll probably check it out. Great review too

protonjon
October 15th 2013


85 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Shad is probably my fav rapper, cannot wait for this!

Digging: Thank You Scientist - Maps of Non-Existent Places

slidenslip
October 15th 2013


1016 Comments



Shad is probably my fav rapper, cannot wait for this!


gosk8n
October 15th 2013


1054 Comments


Wow dude seems to have a pretty nice discog why havent i heard of him before? oh well nice review will czech

Digging: Objekt - Flatland

gosk8n
October 15th 2013


1054 Comments


George Stroumboulopoulos

Stroumboulopoulos

damn...

NastyCrab
October 15th 2013


328 Comments


Ooh new Shad

Days of Future Passed
October 15th 2013


475 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Great rapper. Wonder how this compares to The Old Prince

Digging: The New Pornographers - Brill Bruisers

platypusguy
October 15th 2013


7 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Shad is up and away one of my favorite MCs and his EPs of late have been killer, but for some reason I've never fully enjoyed an album of his. They've always felt kind of inconsistent. I hope it's different with this one

nylertickel2
October 15th 2013


170 Comments


Really looking forward to giving this a listen

bloc
October 15th 2013


34925 Comments


Saw a short interview on this album at a Famous Players haha. Gotta check this out.

IsItHype
October 15th 2013


7 Comments


Well written- definitely planning on giving this a listen tonight.



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