October 1 street date. Over the course of five records to date, JUNO Award-winning Toronto rapper Shad has used an array of old-school tools to tackle modern problems, addressing the indignities and absurdities of our world through a shapeshfiting melange 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 narrative socio-political song cycle - 2018's "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. On a track-by-track basis, "TAO" examines the many different fragments that make up who we are, forsaking the explicit narrative connectivity of "A Short Story About a War" for a more implicit thematic framework. And where its predecessor's intense subject matter naturally channeled a more intense, even aggressive spirit, the looser structure of "TAO" allows Shad to return to his "natural strike zone" of more playful, block-rocking bops - the sort of tracks that might make you smile and snicker even as they unpack such thorny topics as race, capitalism, and technological dependency.