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Introducing: Shad

Earlier in the week I caught up with legendary House producer Richard Earnshaw, but now it’s time for Canadian MC, Shadrach Kabango, better known as Shad. Throughout the past 5 years he has released 3 rather special Hip-Hop albums since winning $17,500 from the 91.5 The Beat’s Rhythm of the Future talent competition, during his time at University. He is everything that I love about Hip-Hop - exceptional beats, clever lyrics and relevant topics. A lot of people compare his style to that of k-os and Common, which is a testament to both him and his music. Below you can listen to my favourite track from his 2010 album, TSOL, which is entitled ‘At The Same Time’ and hit the jump to see what happened in the interview.

1. For those people who don’t know who Shad is, can you give a brief description as to who you are and what you do? 

I’m a emcee from London, Ontario. I’ve been putting out my music since 2005 - 3 albums now. I try to make music that’s fresh and interesting. I try to represent who I am and also just have fun with it.

2. Thinking back to before you released When This Is Over, was rapping something you always wanted to do? It seems to come so naturally to you and is a raw talent, but was it always the career you saw yourself going into…?

 Thanks. No I didn’t really know if it would pan out as a career. In Canada there’s not a lot of rappers that really get to do this full-time so a big part of me knew that realistically I had no reason to expect to be an exception, but I think I always knew that it was worth my time regardless. I just knew I had music in me that I wanted to put out and see what happens from there, and there was no harm in giving it a shot.

3. Comparing TSOL to your two previous albums, what message did you want to put across to the fans and the world of Hip-Hop, and how do you feel it differed in the style to those, because for me it’s your best work to-date.

 TSOL didn’t really have a message. I go back and forth with myself on if I think that’s a good thing or not, but my intention was just to make some quality songs. Stuff that was hopefully enjoyable to listen to and worth listening to. I didn’t want to depart in any major from the style I was doing before, just wanted to get better. I’m glad you enjoyed it.

4. As a child what music did you grow up listening to, what do you listen to now and how has that influenced the material you release? There are clearly a lot of Soul & early Hip-Hop influences in all of your projects, but tracks like We, Myself & I seem to have elements of rock in there as well.

 Yup I listened to everything growing up. I know that’s a boring answer but I was like a lot of kids that just came home and ate eggo waffles and watched music videos. I think what I do musically isn’t nearly as varied as my listening but every once in a while you’ll hear some rock influence or something, like on the track you mentioned. 

5. What are your opinions on UK music at the moment, and do you get chance to hear much over there? I think you and Ty would be a pretty special collaboration.

When I was over there in December my boy Kevin (McGladius) showed me some of the latest UK stuff  that he was feeling which was pretty cool. I’ve always liked that UK hip hop seems to be have a more distinct sound than Canadian hip hop. Maybe it’s our proximity to the states, but I admire that you guys always seem to have your own thing going on.

6. Obviously being in England I don’t know exactly what the Radio plays over there these days, although I’m pretty sure it’s very similar to over here. I would like to know what your thoughts are on how Hip-Hop is portrayed in this current climate? I mean, for me, last year was the best year for Hip-Hop since 2004, with incredible releases from yourself, Homeboy Sandman, Big Boi, KanYe, NaS/Damian, Vinnie Paz, Freeway & many more. But it still seems to be the rappers with lyrics that have no substance who are flying the flag for the genre and making watered down ‘music’ that doesn’t promote Hip-Hop positively, at all.

Well yeah the last 2 years did seem to bring some new energy. A lot of new names and some dope music. I think there’s more balance these days which is cool to see. I’m genuinely interested to see what will happen in the next couple years.

7. What are you working on at the moment, if anything, and what can we expect from Shad in 2011?

 Too early to say if I’ll have a new project ready this year but I’ll be writing as always and making songs with people so collabs should be leaking out from time to time. I recorded a couple things earlier this week that I’m pretty happy with. One is a track I’m working on with Eternia - dope Canadian emcee - and another is a verse for a producer from Philly called Lushlife. 

8. And finally, where do you see Hip-Hop in 5-10 years time and is it guaranteed that you will still be rapping, or is there something else you want to pursue in the future?

Depends on if I still have music in me… and if people still care hear it. Thanks a lot for the love man.


Shad’s Facebook

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