Rapzilla Staff Rating:
Average User Rating:

“Too many shades of grey, time to make it black and white.”

Five years ago, Bryan Winchester (a.k.a. Braille) released his first CD, titled “Lifefirst: Half the Battle,” a release that grabbed the attention of hip hop fans and critics alike. Not only was the album very well conceived, produced and executed, but it was all done before Braille was of the legal age to cast his vote in the presidential election. Since then, Braille has kept busy.

Besides appearing on 25 different CDs, being a member of five different groups (most notably Lightheaded), and recording over 500 songs, Braille released his sophomore release this past year. “Shades of Grey” features several different production talents, a number of well-respected guest emcees, and the seemingly endless ambition of Braille. Think about it, how many other emcees can share the mic with Othello, Pigeon John and ManCHILD and still be solid enough to own the album? How many other emcees can work with thirteen different producers, incorporate a wildly diverse soundtrack and still produce a wholly consistent project?

Shades of Grey begins with an operatic beat and Braille’s message coming through via his hard hitting delivery. Introducing the theme of the album, “Right This Moment” sets the stage, musically and lyrically for an exploration of absolutes. From there, Braille takes you through an album full of postulations and ideology that will take the recommended “repeated listens” to catch. Shades of Grey is indeed “something different.” Braille pulls no punches assessing the current state of affairs living in a fallen world and offers a call to action for any willing to help change for the better. It’s an ambitious project indeed, tackling some complicated topics with a deft delivery and some very distinct music. Reduced to terms of black-and-white, Shades of Grey is one of the year’s finest releases and well worth adding to your collection.

Release Date: May 1st, 2004

Label: Syntax Records

Buy on iTunes

1. Right This Moment (produced by Kno)
2. It Won’t Last (produced by Weapon X) [feat. Pigeon John and Othello]
3. Hiphop Music (produced by Tony Stone) [feat. DJ Rob Swift]
4. 10 Years (produced by 9th Wonder) [feat. Toni Hill]
5. Statements part 2 (produced by Tony Stone) [feat. Ohmega Watts]
6. Microphone Rush (produced by Jon Doe) [feat. Manchild of Mars Ill]
7. The Find (produced by Ohmega Watts) [feat. DJ Muneshine]
8. Keep On (produced by Tony Stone)
9. Let Go (produced by Celph Titled) [feat. Supastition, The Masterminds]
10. Poetry In Motion part 2 (produced by Tony Stone) [f[feat. eaturing DJ Muneshine]
11. Life Cipher (produced by Deepsix)
12. Goliath (produced by Ohmega Watts) [feat. DJ DNA]
13. Soul Rock (produced by Tony Stone) [feat. Ohmega Watts, Othello]
14. Nobody (produced by illmind)
15. Shades of Grey (produced by Tony Stone) [feat. Toni Hill] – Check out the music video