July 28, 2008



Photo by Robyn Cumming

Shad and I finally got together over email after months of broken correspondence and Noyz getting on my case. He’s a real slave driver that Mr. 319. In any case, peep the interview, Shad seems like a cool Homosapien, cop his new, Juno nominated album The Old Prince.

Introduce yourself, crew affiliations etc…

Shad. Shadrach Kabango. I grew up in London Ontario.

Your album The Old Prince was nominated for a Juno award. How does that come about?

I dunno exactly how getting a Juno works. I was honored to be nominated. A lot of people worked hard on the album and on getting the music out there in the media and through shows so it was great to share that with everyone.

What are you studying at Simon Fraser University?

I’m doing a master’s in Liberal Studies. Doing it part-time right now. It was the only school that offered the program and it seemed really well-suited to my interests and stuff so I headed out.

Your Master Degree studies seem pretty broad, what specifically interests you? Does any of this come out in your music?

A lot of things – that’s why I chose such a broad program. I don’t know if I’ll find a specific area that interests me most. My goal for this degree is more just to have fun learning and develop my thinking and communication skills. It doesn’t really show up in my music – I don’t make any references to Dostoevsky or anything – but it probably affects it indirectly. Some of the people and ideas we learn about can be inspiring.

Are people on the west coast responsive to your music?

Yeah so far the response has been pretty good. I’m still building out West and trying to get my music out there more, but the shows I’ve done so far have been alright. Kelowna’s been a fun place to play. Victoria crowds have been great (although someone needs to stop jacking people’s gear out there!). Passed through Alberta and Saskatchewan recently too and heads showed love, which was mad cool.

Does your level of success surprise you or are you following a clear trajectory?

For me it’s always a surprise. Not that I don’t make plans for my career, but I never expect things to go according to plan because you never know how people are gonna take to what you do and so on. There’s lots of variables with music. I’m glad things have progressed to this point.

So since you’re in school, does that mean that this rap shit is temporary?

99.9% of music careers are temporary – just a matter of how temporary. I can’t say how long I’ll be making music for. I just know that for now, this is what I’m into doing and fortunately I have the chance to do it. At some point I might not be as into it or I’ll have to stop for some reason. I’m pretty cool with that.

Do you think that you add a unique perspective to hip hop? Is that your aim?

Yeah, I definitely don’t have the intention of affecting an entire genre. I just want to share what I got and my creative energy and contribute something real and positive to the lives of the people hearing me.

Did you find yourself coming up in the London rap scene, or did you concentrate more on Toronto?

Well kind of both. I started playing shows in both cities around the same time (fall 2005), but I’m from London. Like that’s where I grew up and I always rep London. People there have been mad supportive. Toronto’s been good to me too and I was given a lot of opportunities there starting out which was great, so talking strictly music, you could say I started out in both scenes, but London is the city I rep.

What/who inspired you to rap?

I think I started rapping just for something fun to do. I didn’t learn any instruments ‘til the end of high school so freestyling and rapping was just a way for me to have fun with music, have fun with my friends, get people excited. I always loved listening to music and it was cool to be able to create something musical myself. Later it became a way for me to share something about who I am. I never heard a guy rap and thought ‘man, I wanna do that.’ Like almost anyone who listens to hip hop, I think one day I just tried it… ended up liking it more and more.

So if music turns out to be temporary, what is your fall back?

I don’t really think about it like that. Right now I’m doing music and other things that I love and I’m fortunate to have the opportunity to do them. When/if I no longer love what I’m doing now or I don’t have the opportunity to do those things, I’ll move on to something else, but I’m not really thinking about that now. For now, all I know is I’m cool with what I’m doing.

Is there a stigma attached to being a Canadian hip hop artist?

Haha yeah – that we’re no good!

Shouts or last words?

That’s about it from me. Thanks Jon.

For more info on Shad check out myspace.com/shad.

25 Responses

  1. Shad is by far the best thing in Canadian hip hop right now. Keep doing your thing Shadrach.

  2. yeah shad is the illest. i love his nonchalance, cracks me up. he’s got a new video in the works and its gonna kill it!

  3. Shad is awesome! Saw him when he rolled through Saskatoon this summer! The Old Prince is a great album! Props all around! A little tidbit Selfhelp and Shad played highschool basketball together is London!!!!!


  4. Cool interview. The old prince definitely got me excited about rap again. Hungriest mc out right now.

  5. “Hungriest mc out right now.”

    Wow, did you discover K’naan and Jurassic 5 yesterday? You’re an idiot. Shad appeals to a broad, unappealing and “safe” listenership of music and leaves little to the imagination.

  6. I have read this comment a few times and was hoping that some would have stepped and posted a response. But there is no time like the present as they say.
    Shad is one of the dopest fools out. That is incredible to me that he would warrant a statement like that. His lyrics are light years ahead of almost everything out of Canada or a broad. The fact that he is a positive emcee is exactly what rap needs.
    By your statements of K’Naan and Jurassic 5 I can only guess that you are a avid listener of Necro or Ill Bill and have decided that life in your mom’s basement on the tough streets of Calgary speak volumes compared to the hardships of the genocide faced in Rwanda. You are the exact audience that would be best reached by Shad’s lyrics. You should take your head out of your ass and try to give this emcee a listen.

    Alberta Rap Charger7

    August 6, 2008
    “Hungriest mc out right now.”

    Wow, did you discover K’naan and Jurassic 5 yesterday? You’re an idiot. Shad appeals to a broad, unappealing and “safe” listenership of music and leaves little to the imagination.

  7. Fatmike, I aint from Calgary (not that it really matters) and I don’t live in my mom’s basement. Necro has a grip of tight tracks, but he also bores me. I almost never listen to Ill Bill (unless it’s Non Phixion). Don’t pretend to “know” me just because I disagree with your opinion that Shad is dope. Shad is a poindexter rapper who doesn’t make music I can appreciate. I also stand by the fact that he is not “the hungriest emcee out there.” I’d have to say there are about 5 other rappers who want it more than he does (as an example, it says in the interview that he’s in school).

  8. Are you serious about Shad not being a “hungry” emcee becuase he’s in school? At first I thought this was a joke but then sadly I came to believe that you honestly think that. You are so right with that. Yeah Shad is a herb for thinking about the future, I mean we all know how well the rap industry takes care of its pioneers. Kids coming up, could and should learn from this. The fact that he has the ability to balance both worlds (not that they are not that different) and do it so well is admirable. Keep fighting the good fight homeboy.

    “Shad is a poindexter rapper who doesn’t make music I can appreciate.” Word. Point taken. Then don’t post on an interview with an artist you don’t like. Seems easy enough.


  9. you dont have to be good with words and have style thats original.

    you just have to really really want it more.

  10. hey fatmike, we all have opinions and rap is based on competition and shit talking. GET OVER IT!

  11. shad makes dope music, and he’s a good dude! he’s got my support!

    good to see people in the west showing interest too… i wish him all the best.

  12. Hey keep Calgary out of this discussion… no need to hurt feelers.

    As for Shad, his music and his style is dope. Anyone who doesn’t think so has not seen him live yet. Period. Man is a metaphysical, equilateral, and any other word ending in “-al”…. EMCEE. Man can rock the ladies, the gents, and the party. Nuff respect for Shadrach and how he gets down.

    I love the video with the Fresh Prince motif. I can’t believe the details yall caught to the T. The effin’ background even looks the same. Same movements, same angles. IMPRESSED.

  13. I’m hard pressed to believe you actually saw Shad, or that you’re even talking about the same rapper everyone else in this thread is talking about. Shad is far from mediocre. His raps are positive, which tends to make him a little easier to accept by the masses. As does his smoother flow. But, he’s also intelligent and knows how to lay down a good rap. And let’s not forget innovative. This is the kind of rapper we need more of in the world.

    As for live performance, Shad is one of the best I’ve seen. He’s backed by a live band that always adds a little something extra to your typical hip hop show. He plays guitar for a couple of tracks. He drops some dope freestyles, does a medley of covers, and has some great moments of humour. Plus, he rocks his own tracks hard…

    Shad deserves all the positive press and kudos that he’s been receiving. I can think of very few rappers that I’d rather have repping for Canada on the international scene…

  14. TORONTO has mad artists, just none of the good ones have proper promotion. Hermes, you’re the worst of both worlds. Weak-ass Calgary rapper moving to the dot for fame and fortune. Your opinion means nothing, keep rapping though, you need the practice.

  15. yo, am from africa. The realest toughes roughest continent on the planet. Thats not 2 diss or discredit anyone and wherever they from. Just 2 say i’ve heard mad rappers from almost everywhere, including cananda. Trust me when i say the boy shad nice with his. Word 2 the motherland.