2011’s TSOL established Shad as one of the few remaining “conscious rappers” (an admittedly reductive label) worth listening to. Flying Colours, his recently released fourth album, has all the sharp-tongued witticisms (“Stylin,” “Epilogue: Long Lawn”) and earnest, good-natured reflections (“Fam Jam”) you’d expect, but it never does quite settle into a musical groove. Shad’s social commentary, usually best when he’s approaching at an angle, feels a bit heavy-handed here, almost Prufrockian in its melancholy. Much better is the quiet storm-y “He Say She Say,” a heartfelt double-sided look into a late 20’s romance on the rocks.
Standout Songs: “He Say She Say,” “Stylin,” “Yall Know Me”
Songs to Skip: “Love Means,” “Thank You”