ShaoDow – Kung Fu Hustler [Review] [@ShaoDowMusic]
When first listening to ShaoDow's Kung Fu Hustler album I instantly thought that he came across as someone with a plan and a set direction which he wanted the album to flow. From the off I got the impression that the album was more of a statement of intent, laying down the gauntlet for any takers.
May not be one for fans of more traditional hip hop, or those who aren't looking for experimental combinations of beats and flows.
Talented London based Hip Hop artist and DiY Gang CEO, ShaoDow, is back once again. This time the fully independent artist is returning with a brand new album, Kung Fu Hustler which, is set for release on 21st October 2013 via iTunes, coinciding with the release of ShaoDow’s own exclusive headphones.
The release comes off the back of ShaoDow’s recent performances at the esteemed Reading and Leeds festivals and promises to propel Shao through the commercial barrier by, proving his diverse ability to make music for all genres while keeping the substance and content.
Having already reached the heights of receiving BBC radio play and supporting artist’s such as: Chipmunk, Tech N9ne, Wiley and many others, it is safe to say that ShaoDow has been making waves in the UK music scene and the Kung Fu Huslter album comes with high expectations.
Featuring twenty one completely original tracks and collaborations from the likes of: Stylah, Genesis Elijah and others, it is safe to say that it looks promising from the off.
When first listening to ShaoDow’s Kung Fu Hustler album I instantly thought that he came across as someone with a plan and a set direction which he wanted the album to flow. From the off I got the impression that the album was more of a statement of intent, laying down the gauntlet for any takers.
The introducing track really sets the pace, showcasing numerous sampled drops alongside an intense instrumental that ShaoDow matches for vibe and tempo, providing sneak preview of whats to follow.
From there on the album continues to take the listener on a vivid journey through many well vocalized scenarios, enhanced by a wide range of equally fitting instrumentals. The concepts and level of lyricism never seem to drop or falter, each track bringing it’s own identity and no two tracks sounding the same.
A few of my personal favourites from Kung Fu Hustler include; Hustle Smart, Leap Of Faith, What That’s Like and TTYL, though it was no easy process selecting just four – I could of easy selected six or seven tracks.
My reasons for highlighting the songs above, over all the others, differs greatly from track to track. I picked Hustle Smart because I remember the original recording, a remix to Ace Hood’s track Hustle Hard, and am easily able to notice the improvements made on a track that was already a banger – The new instrumental combined with the new sung hook drastically changed the previous mood and feel of the song.
On TTYL I feel that ShaoDow has picked the perfect instrumental for the concept of the song, on it Zaheer opts to provide a majestic yet intense atmosphere for Shao to lay down clear vocals with a telling presence. I also like the concept of the song, it’s very unique and gives an in-depth insight to ShaoDow’s perspective on his hard graft and, social media’s influence on fans in the music industry.
With What That’s Like I feel that it’s an honest track and ShaoDow uses the melodic beat to make a calming track with a different mood to the rest of the album. The addition of Sam Harrison on the hook is a nice touch and adds another dimension to the song which, shows a different side to ShaoDow.
Leap Of Faith is a track that I rate highly, everything about it is spot on from, the prominent rock and roll styled hook to, the electronic guitar breakdowns and everything in between. The cross over of Rap and Rock is one that I think works very well when done properly and with Leap Of Faith ShaoDow has found the perfect balance.
Overall I would say that this release has an unmistakeable classic UK grime feel with a little twist, the twist being ShaoDow’s vocals – Alot of the instrumentals are very grime-esque but ShaoDow’s flow and delivery are very much Hip Hop.
Throughout the run-time of Kung Fu Hustler, lyrics and concepts appear to be a massive focus point – every song has a concept and every lyric seems thought through, the combination of ShaoDow’s creative vocals and some of the forward thinking instrumentals picked for the project provide a pedestal for the partnership of Grime, Rock and Hip Hop.
With this release it is easy to tell that, ShaoDow has been working tirelessly on perfecting his own diverse style of music. The variation of beats and vocal styles used on Kung Fu Hustler ensure that nigh on all tastes are catered for – Whether you’re looking for relatable lyrics or beats to dance to there is something for you.