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.