Canadian rapper Shad has carved out a lane for himself over the past few years making smart, lyrically engaging hip-hop that's thoughtful and issue-conscious without becoming overly cheesy or preachy. It's a tough balance to strike, but songs like the excellent "Fam Jam (Fe Sum Immigrants)," off his most recent album Flying Colours (reminder: Canada! Canadian spellings!), do it with ease.
"Remember to Remember," the latest song from that project to be released as a single, manages that balance while taking an altogether different tone. With its martial, blown-out beat from producer Mike Tompkins and the soaring vocals from Lights, it's immediately jarring, a great compliment to lyrics that aim to disorient and ultimately prompt reflection. "We only feel better when we feel like we're better than," Shad raps on the third verse, which also prods with lines like "we talk nonviolence and stay silent when it suits."
The video, directed by Justin Broadbent, mimics the glitches of VHS tapes and shows Shad, prism-like, in a dark setting before eventually cutting to a neon, glowing trio of dancers. "Are we VHS recorded spirits of ourselves? Can nostalgia exist as it happens?" the director asks. Decide for yourself above. Flying Colours is out now and available on iTunes.