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The unique background of Rwandan-Canadian hip-hop artist Shad infuses his flow insight into the everyday struggle to work for justice and peace. While most hip-hop is still wrapped up in bling and violence, Shad’s lyrics are shaped by his immigration to Canada through the U.K.; he knows only second-hand about the genocide that “ruined his motherland.”

On this, his fourth album, he continues to be unapologetically Christian. However, the lack of exclusively Christian language gathers a growing audience into conversations about immigration (“Fam Jam [Fe Sum Immigrins]”), the breakdown of relationships (“He Say She Say”), oppression, and injustice. He explores racism in the song “Intro: Lost” that includes lyrics like “Not saying they’re Nazis / I’m just saying how can they not see that?”

Musically the album draws from many classic hip-hop rhythms with a few slower melodic songs. Rare in rap, the album is a good combination of fun and reflection. (Black Box Recordings)

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