Colin Munroe is an archetype of the "playlist" music generation – a cohort of music lovers whose tastes are genre-agnostic. Munroe’s remix of Kanye West’s “Flashing Lights” put him on the map in 2008, but it’s his more recent collaborations with the likes of Drake, Kendrick Lamar, Wale, Talib Kweli, Travie McCoy, the Game and T. Mills amongst others that have since boosted his exposure and revealed how much of a musical chameleon Munroe can be.
Munroe has partnered with Karmaloop.com for the release of his new mixtape, #UnsungHero. To craft the project, Munroe linked with an unlikely list of collaborators including Kendrick Lamar, Wu-Tang founding member and producer RZA, dream pop duo Memoryhouse, electro-R&B artist Cassie and longtime Drake producer Boi-1da. The first track is the simultaneously epic and understated ”The Fight of My Life”. The song features Grammy-nominated G.O.O.D. music artist Pusha T over a sample of “Tender Mercy” by London-based Goth Pop band Au Palais. With “The Fight of My Life”, Munroe returns with the same genre bending magic that first caught the eyes and ears of so many. The song represents just a taste of things to come; a refrain Munroe echoes with the chorus/manifesto: “I was born ready to fight / Forever and tonight / I’m in the fight of my life”. Munroe’s debut LP arrives via Capitol Records in 2013.
Until you really think about it, you might not be aware of how much your music consumption has changed over the past few years. When you first started getting into music, did you go to a record store to buy a CD, take it home, pop it onto your Discman and listen to it from beginning to end? Now, it’s becoming the norm to listen to endless streams of music online, or on your phone, and to get into new artists on a song-by-song, rather than album-by-album, basis. This is a generation where both fans and artists alike are shedding genre restrictions--you’ll see indie rock fans embracing hip hop, and plenty of collaboration between artists across countless genres. Case in point: Colin Munroe, a producer and singer-songwriter based in Toronto, Canada. On his latest mixtape, #UnsungHero (note the Twitter-savvy title), he encompasses everything the playlist music generation is all about. Take “Invincible,” which brings together RZA (of Wu-Tang Clan fame) and dream pop duo/BOD alums (who we featured on 8/1/12) Memoryhouse. Or “Your Eyes,” which has rising hip hop star K. Flay lending her vocals to contrast Munroe’s poppy croon. Pusha T, a rapper signed to Kanye West’s G.O.O.D Music label, is featured on opening track “The Fight of My Life,” which immediately commands your attention with a beat that sounds like a futuristic drumline stomping through the cosmos. Prior to releasing #UnsungHero, Munroe released the 2008 mixtape entitled Colin Munroe is the Unsung Hero, which featured collaborations with the likes of Drake (on “Cannon Ball”), Wale (on “Will I Stay”), and Blaqstarr (on “As Much As You”), as well as a stripped down, acoustic folk-y cover of U2’s “Sunday Bloody Sunday.” Colin Munroe has proven to be a master of genre-bending, which makes his forthcoming debut LP (which will be released in 2013) one we’ll keep our eyes peeled for.