Thinking Cap is the latest single from Shaya's debut album Fallen Awake. Under the manifesto of resurrecting "thinking man's music", Shaya's track is an open palm to his listeners; a chance to lay rest the pains of his own life and come to terms with a new mentality that is rooted in clarity and honesty. Thinking Cap starts off playing the break the song is based on for a couple of bars before the reversion kicks in.
It points to Shaya’s soulful leanings and has a feel of old Heiroglyphics stuff, a crew with whom Shaya has done shows with in the past. Discussing his recent record deal, Shaya writes about his anxieties about releasing his first album and the simultaneous recognition that he has something intelligent to offer to the hip-hop game.
He rhymes, "They say this is my best shit / But I don't really know / Maybe writing what I feel / Gave me character to grow". His lyrics are set over a relaxed beat that is a throwback to the underground gems of classic 90's hip-hop from the Bay Area. It's evident when listening to Shaya that he is not trying to project a certain image or conform to a specific niche; he just lets his words and life story speak for themselves.
Up next Shaya cuts to the chase in a serious way with Fall Back, bringing his signature flow to the table alongside a low-key yet highly memorable beat. The opening line, "Hit 'em with that critical hip-hop", embodies Shaya's philosophy when it comes to making hip-hop: no excess, no frills, just solid rhymes and beats and music that comes from the heart.
Lines such as: "Your boy can rhyme, outta sight outta mind, guaranteed to shock deep, never there but right on time" re-affirm Shaya's belief in genuine hip-hop music. The track's beat grabs the listener right from the beginning with a walking bass line that kicks things off. With an ethereal synth line sitting on top of the mid-tempo beat, the track's simplicity is reminiscent of hip-hop's glory days back in the early 90s. A few other elements, including a sampled vocal line underlie the rhyming; the focus, still, is the lyrical content. Fall Back is a throwback to the days in hip-hop when rhymes and beats mattered more than jewelry and women.
Shay's debut album, Fallen Awake, will be released by Interdependent Media on July 29th, 2008.