The Old Prince by Shad
Get comfortable. Stumbled onto this album a few months ago, and well, it checks off a lot of the things I look for in a good hip hop album.
Shad is a Canadian rapper of Kenyan origin who does a lot of things differently than most rappers. He's not overly braggadocious. His writing has content. He's grounded in something larger than personal or financial success.
This album is his second and it's certainly one of my top 10. Period.
From the "here's what you can expect" intro "Quest for Glory," we get into "I Don't Really Like You." This track is full of wordplay that's worthy of lay admiration and props from full-on hip hop heads. I.e.
Ah gee, now you got me cocky,
Cats say, "You the illest," I'm like "nah B, nah B, nah B..."
Well OK probably, but that's just only 'cause I rap like it's my hobby,
Not a jobby-job, gettin' all sloppy, off key
Y'all mad as March, tryin' to knock off the top seed.
A few tracks later is "The Old Prince Still Lives at Home." Haven't seen one that's this kind of funny in a long time. Check it.
After "Old Prince," is an interesting joint called "Out of Love, Pt. 2." This one is an ironic piece about doing things with/without your heart behind them. Be prepared to think a little on this one.
After an instrumental interlude is another introspective track that could be about a lot of things. Corruption, politics, capitalism, lots of options here. Give it a listen.
The next two tunes are killer. First up is "Compromise." Lyrical content aside, the production and sampling on this one is one of my favorites. Following is "Exile," a very neo-West Coast sounding song about staying true to yourself and your beliefs.
Don't let the fact that I didn't break down a few tracks from this album throw you. Top to bottom, it's in my opinion a classic. Based on his music, Shad is a very thoughtful, forward-thinking, lyricist who can make some seriously deep topics sound like polite conversation. If you're tired of the junk that gets spins on the radio, I highly recommend Shad and The Old Prince.