Album Review: Flying Colours by Shad

Ontario’s thoughtful-minded rapper Shad is back in the game with his fourth studio album in eight years, Flying Colours. With a Juno Award and two Polaris Music Prize-nominations already tucked under his belt, the Kenyan-born MC shows that he has no problem following up from his previous award-winning album, TSOL, with possibly an even better one.

On Flying Colours, Shad rhymes about life as a low-income citizen, identifying with Canadian-immigrants who are simply trying to make a living in Western society. Despite the everyday struggle to make ends meet with his financial situation and career as a musician, Shad’s positive mindset shows off in this album. He tells us — without sounding even remotely cliché — to follow our dreams, remember where we came from, and to be grateful for what we already have. The wit and wisdom of Shad’s lyrics are carefully arranged over a number of violin-filled and percussive beats, with the occasional Jay Z sample, leading to a very ear-satisfying experience.

Although he is still an underdog in the world of hip-hop, Shad’s clever rhymes and intricately woven verses throughout Flying Colours show the rapper’s ability to cover all sorts of ground on this album; whether it be a commentary on immigrant lifestyle in Canada, or even a brief shot at Toronto’s bumbling mayor Rob Ford. As he says on his final track: “T.O. knows I’m a Benz in the city of Ford.”

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