Toronto rapper Shad’s brand-new album TAO is out everywhere this Friday. To celebrate the release week, Shad is dropping one last track today titled “Black Averageness.” The rapper explains the concept behind the song: “‘Black Averageness’ is a just fun celebration of our beautifully imperfect selves in a society that still struggles to see our humanity. As vital as it is to elevate Black Excellence and to address the harsh realities that we disproportionately experience, I think it’s also helpful to affirm our inherent dignity as ordinary human beings and to create more space for us to enjoy life with all its inevitable ups and downs, successes and failures. As usual, I think I say it best in the music: ‘I’m a man—why would I want to be a GOAT? I just want to see us cope. We're either stars or we're broke... I’m like nope: I have every right to be like a B or a C with a durag on while I ski.’”
Watch The Video For "Black Averageness"
The last singles received an overwhelmingly positive response by media and fans alike and were picked up by Complex, Hip-Hop Wired, Brooklyn Vegan, Exclaim!, Strombo, KEXP, American Songwriter and many more. The single also saw Shad landing on billboards and playlist covers across streaming platforms. In addition, recently the renowned Brooklyn-based DJ J. Period released “Globetrottin,” a brand-new song featuring Shad and Masego. “Globetrottin” is a playful storytelling track on J. Period’s EP, which also features Black Thought, Dave Chapelle, Masego, Lin-Manuel Miranda, and a host of others.
Over the course of five records to date, the JUNO Award-winning Toronto rapper has used an array of old-school tools to tackle modern problems, addressing the indignities and absurdities of our world through a shapeshifting mélange of boom-bap breaks, dusty soul samples, jazzy improvisation, and 10-dollar words rolled into thousand-dollar rhymes. But after weaving his myriad musical and philosophical interests into a socio-political song cycle on 2018’s Polaris shortlisted A Short Story About A War, Shad began building his sixth record, TAO, from a much simpler concept: an image of a circle. Though, in true Shad fashion, he saw something much more profound within its basic round boundaries.
TAO is about deep connection, wholeness, and the various threats to it. TAO refers to the Chinese philosophy of naturalism and is an acronym drawn from CS Lewis’ highly prescient 1943 book, The Abolition Of Man, that discusses The Tao. The TAO acronym is also found in The Age of Surveillance Capitalism by Shoshana Zuboff, another very influential book for Shad during his writing process. “The books were written something like 70 years apart but totally connect on the topic of preserving our humanness against certain threatening ideologies and technologies,” he explains. “Each song on the album focuses on a different part (or parts) of our humanity that we’ve been losing touch with.”
1. Out of Touch
4. TAO pt
5. Slot Machine
7. Body (No Reason)
9. TAO pt 2
10. Black Averageness
12. TAO pt 3