Before we get to the relevant details, let me skip straight to the big picture: This album is awesome and you should make sure to hear it.
OK, so: Shad is a Juno-winning rapper out of Vancouver who’s also known as a radio host on CBC. For his latest project, he’s taken on the alternate identity Your Boy Tony Braxton. The clever moniker is a nod to the ’80s and ’90s lite-pop sounds he mines on his album Adult Contempt. Shad ditches rapping for singing here, and the effect is a lovely collection of songs that reminds me of Frank Ocean’s Nostalgia, Ultra transposed from a modern R&B context into bright, richly arranged throwback pop in the vein of Scritti Politti and Prefab Sprout. It sounds deeply familiar and yet not quite like anything I’ve ever heard. Here’s some background on the project from Shad:
Musically, the inspirations for this album mainly come from the first things I ever heard on the radio. Vague memories of Michael Penn, Terence Trent D’arby, the Cure, Bryan Adams, Janet Jackson, and others that evoke a smile and a nostalgic sense in me. Lyrically, I have some fun here and there but a lot of the lyrics are just honest, simply-put musings–grappling with insecurity, love, and trying to become a better person.
The name — Your Boy Tony Braxton — obviously speaks to the era I’m evoking, but also to the lyrical content and overall tone: The idea of a dude named Tony Braxton who likes to sing (but obviously isnt as good as the famous Toni Braxton) is a surprisingly accurate embodiment of how this music feels to me: Vulnerable, funny, and ultimately, hopefully a worthwhile offering.
Adult Contempt is definitely worthwhile, so stream it below.
Adult Contempt is out today on Arts & Crafts.