Release Date: April 15th, 2016
Label: Independent (free download on his website)
Shan Vincent De Paul is truly a blessed man. Besides being on a path to being enlightened, his hip-hop energy is like the human embodiment of Shia LaBeouf’s motivational “Just do it!” speech. Paul’s style is a combination of Eminem’s rawness, Childish Gambino’s playful flow, and Drake’s emotion. Saviors expresses the best of his intensity and identity, fusing the two in his balance of appropriate tempos. What Paul has shown is that he is a mortal with the ability to hype a crowd, as well as silence one with only a straight arm and an open palm.
I can picture Paul and Tory Lanez going back and forth at an explosive venue, with each rapper not one-upping each other but building on the construction the other started. Both Toronto rappers have a charisma to them that binds audiences who might not have heard of them prior. They don’t need to jump or insult each other to get the crowd rolling. Saviors has the right raps to get Paul on the right track with fans and prospective ones. Though there are times where his rapping can lean on the simple side, his erupting tone and a good production value are what bring listeners back into his zone.
Paul might talk of religion in the most candid ways, but he does not feel like the kind of person who’ll show up at your door with the goal of converting you. With the line “Skinny paki is packing this house up,” he solidifies how Saviors is about his spiritual journey toward a form of enlightenment and how it helped him become a fierce rapper (“Radio”). He might utilize the tired but true “started from the bottom, now I’m here” attitude, but he makes up for it with the skill of being intense on the mic.
“Pandora” has Paul lose all control, allowing him to genuinely tear up. His emotional states are what give him depth when he talks of mortality, even in sex-driven songs that lack the artist’s best (“Buggin'”). “Die Iconic,” in its all-too short run-time, is a proper gateway track into not only the religious side of the artist, but also the fighter within him–the person who won’t give up. Breath control might be an issue if composure is what he wants, but the intensity of his emotion says otherwise. His identity bolsters something more than fame, making him multi-faceted in his working of themes.
The production that graces Saviors is admirable in its reflection of Paul’s emotional states. “Humble,” a described “Ode to the West” effortlessly generates a warped beat that praises the hip-hop underground, using a quick bass to implement dance into the mix. Though the vocal rhythms are too simple for their own good, it is worth it to hear a production that can hold its own. Whether on the R&B side (“Church”) or on holy ground (“Fin,” “Radio”), the artist holds his ground, although not so much when faced with poppier beats where Paul’s soulful vocals take the helm (“Get It On”). La+ch’s features are key in their implementation of an inspiring (“Fight for Us”) or troubled (“Buggin'”) atmosphere. The beats are there when he feels like a million bucks and when he wants to contemplate the dark side of mortality.
Shan Vincent De Paul can hold his own in the lion’s den, the ark, and inside the belly of the leviathan. He is an artist who is already doing well in his goal of becoming an icon. Here’s hoping he reaches his spiritual peak, feeling like he can go beyond it.