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Colin Munroe

Is the Unsung Hero

(OnSmash; US: 1 Dec 2008)

The line between rap and R&B has become so blurred at this point that it should no longer exist, at least on the mainstream level. While it’s always been like that in some way or another since the ‘90s, it’s never been like this before. And further driving that point home, or blurring the line, is Colin Munroe. But, in his defense, he’s more than just another vocalist. Munroe, a genre-bending singer-musician from Toronto, has worked with the likes of Black Milk and Wale while also honing his songwriting skills. Now, Munroe is making a push for himself. And it all begins with the mixtape Is The Unsung Hero, most of which is self-produced and laden with equally buzzworthy guests Black Milk, Novel, and Mickey Factz.


The problem is finding where Munroe’s buzz lays, though. Across this mix, his musical style jumps from bubblegum-pop (the stellar “Last Cause”) to rock-infused hip-hop (“What the Young Man Says”) to a banjo-plucked cover of “Sunday Bloody Sunday”. And almost every other track on here features an equally bizarre genre-leap. While diversification in music is almost always accepted, it becomes awkward when not well orchestrated. But in Munroe’s defense, he does kill it on a number of cuts on here, like the almost-ridiculously catchy “Will I Stay” and the rebellious and fun “Piano Lessons”. It’s just the lack of consistency and sometimes over-produced tracks that make going back to only certain songs a necessity. Is there plenty of potential here? Absolutely, but Munroe just needs to figure where he fits in. If nothing else, he should re-listen to “Break Off”, one of this mixtape’s brightest joints, and hear how talented he is.

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Weekly newspaper reporter by day, music reviewer by night (OK, and by day, too). When he's not writing for PopMatters, Andrew spends most of his time at online magazine Prefix and hip-hop site Potholes In My Blog.


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Colin Munroe - Piano Lessons featuring Joell Ortiz
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By PopMatters Staff
26 Jan 2009
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