Slept on Saturdays: Shad, TSOL


Why does it seem like people constantly sleep on Hip-Hop music that’s made by our neighbors to the north? Some of my favorite artists are from Canada, and Shad definitely falls underneath that umbrella alongside Classified. My friend Aaron told me to check out Shad a while back, and I downloaded his material, but I never really gave his music the chance that it deserved. I started listening to The Old Prince quite a bit after a while, but for some reason I never gave TSOL any spins; I would later come to find out that I was missing out on one of the best albums in the last 2-3 years. Shad quickly became one of my favorite emcees with just a few spins of TSOL; his skill on the mic is undeniable, and he’s able to skew so many topics in a short amount of time without sacrificing any attention to detail.

Shad starts his lyrical display on “Rose Garden”, an uplifting song built around entertaining catchphrases and a joyous beat built on top of an incredible sample flip. One of my favorite tracks on the album is “Keep Shining”; it’s Shad’s tribute to all of the beautiful women in this world, and  in his first stanza he spits about the type of female that he identifies with, “I roll with clever broads with goals like Federov/seekin’ better jobs instead running scams like Set It Off/some aren’t the sharpest, but they know what they stand for/they don’t let jams disrespect them on the dance floor/and no, they didn’t hit college like the Danforth/for damn sure they got each other’s back like a Jansport”. Shad takes the opportunity to display his story telling abilities on “Telephone” as he narrates the struggles between himself and another female; even though it’s a serious track, Shad manages to slip in witty punchlines like “…when I need help this female won’t take my calls/it’s like pool, and that’s her cue to break my balls”.

In my opinion, the opus and apex of the album is the track “Yaa I Get It”; EOM’s beat is a ferocious creature with razor sharp teeth, and Shad’s rhymes are the perfect remedy to tame the beast. He pulls out all of the stops, and he lets loose a lyrical legion of hardcore punchlines: “Well my name ain’t little Wayne Gretzke, but ya’ll know better than to check me/in the game, I hold records like a Technic”. My personal favorite line comes with a reference to one of my favorite athletes of all-time: “…welcome to the big leagues where they pitch heat/still on a hit streak/my rappin’s like batting .360/hey Griffey slow down do something less cerebral/I’m not big enough yet I gotta keep impressin’ people”.

TSOL is one carefully crafted cohesive masterpiece; everything about this album is great, and it should stand amongst the best albums in the last few years. I have to thank my friend Aaron again for introducing me to Shad because as I said before, he’s become one of my favorite lyricists. With projects like TSOL, Shad could have a very bright future ahead of him, and he might even get Canada the massive amounts of respect they deserve for their Hip-Hop scene.

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