Spotlight    Shad K

Shad K

Shad K is one of the freshest sounding MCs to come out of Canada in years. Born in London (Ontario), Shad’s rhymes are complex, witty and deep, and most importantly, his content is totally unique. This uniqueness stems in part from his heritage, and upbringing; as he acknowledges himself, having a Rwandan background and growing up detached from inner-city neighbourhoods (which have typically bred talent in Canada’s rap scene) are exactly why, he says, “that a more commercial sound just wouldn’t work for me”. Shad would also claim that he’s the biggest thing out of Canada since Pamela’s Double-Ds.

Growing up in a sub-urban centre like London, and graduating from Laurier Univeristy’s School of Business and Economics, is hardly the profile of the typical North American MC, or emerging Canadian artist for that matter. While it may be atypical, some of the most critically acclaimed and successful rappers South of the border share similar backgrounds:

Talib Kweli – Experimental Theater, NYU (Graduate)

Kanye West – English, Chicago State University (Registered Late, Dropped Out, then Graduated)

Common – Business Administration, Florida A&M University (Graduate)

If you like the kind of rap those men put out (commonly referred to as “Backpack Rap”) then you’ll probably like Shad. But I wouldn’t quite call Shad a Backpack Rapper – he’s more like a “Sac à dos” Rapper (pull out your French-English dictionary and look that shit up). What I mean by that is what’s most interesting to me about Shad is that knowingly or not, his music is representative of a truly Canadian experience, and yet (through his pop-culture references, everyday guy vibe and catchy beats) remains accessible to a non-Canadian listener.

As a kid in a middle-class immigrant family, Shad’s story is probably very similar to half your friends’, which is why everything he has to say sounds so familiar. He goes from talking about the difficulty of typical student expenses, like dental plans, on “The Old Prince Lives At Home”: “Why does a brother need a dentist?/It’s expensive/yeah my gums they bleed/they do every time that he scrubs’em clean/and every year they try to bump the fee/plus they’ll probably recommend braces, that’s another G/well thanks a lot doc, but I can brush my teeth all on my own, so you ain’t gotta hustle me,” to talking about the Rwandan genocide on “I’ll Never Understand”: “I’ll never understand how my mom felt when she lost her dad/ her sister and the only brother that she ever had/ and I’ll never know what’s more sad/ the fact that they could’ve been spared/ or the fact that to this day nobody cares/ for the innocent, victims of a full fledged Holocaust/ cause folks only holler if the cost of dollars lost, is high,” and even goes as far as to have a jam written for his engineering friends, where he talks about “The Greatest Construction Crew” made up of characters called “Imagination,” “Intellect,” and “Heart”.

Shad’s got two albums and a mixtape out. “When This is Over”, his debut has been out for a little bit over a year, and his new album “The Old Prince” just came out in October. Both of Shad’s albums are on iTunes and available at stores all over the place, so grab them.

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— , December 3, 2007    3 Comments
Comments:

Love the line “kanye – registered late, dropout, graduated”. Funny shit. This Sal guy is such a hipster.

Thanks for focusing on some underground hip-hop…..

p.s. Shad’s red skinny tie is sick!

— HRG, December 6, 2007

Claire Huxtable = The classiest lady ever. I hope one day I meet gal as glorious as her.

— David, December 7, 2007

Sal’s already got Claire on lockdown. He’s too fresh/hip. Don’t even try to compete.

— CC, December 10, 2007