This Years CMJ Music Marathon featured a "Canadian Blast" at Arlene's Grocery with nothing but artists from North of the boarder, eh. Among those performing was by way of Kenya London Ontario's own emcee Shad K. After winning some serious scratch, (17,500 beans to be exact), in Toronto's 91.5 FM The Beat Radio Rhythm of the Future competition, Shad put out his first record "When This is Over" in 2005. In 07 Shad signed with Black Box Recording and put out the Juno Award nominated, and critically acclaimed album, "The Old Prince".
Since then Shad has gone on to tour Canada
I had a chance to catch up with Shad before the show to ask him a few questions:
Josh D: Peace Shad K, tell us where your from, and what you have going on...
SHAD: I am from London Ontario, that's where I grew up. I'm doing some writing, thinking about the next project, not working on it yet, but thinking about it.
JD: Tell me about "The Old Prince" and how that came to be.
SHD: How The Old Price Came to be is I signed with a label, Black Box Recordings in spring of 2007, and from that point forward set forth on the album. Conceptually things were fitting together already, I had a bank of stuff that I had written, and starting working with some producers, it was a pretty crazy hectic summer, but we got it done.
JD: To me the album seem to be aesthetically about a book of wisdom...
SHD: Cool, really it came down to that image of the Old Prince, and when I started to think about that, it started to connect with a lot of stuff I was seeing and reading...
JD: Were there any literary influences?
SHD: No there weren't any actually, it was more just that image that came to mind, out of, I cant tell you where, and that's just kinda the fun of music sometimes.
JD: Tell me about your first pair of sneakers..
SHD: Grade 5, we had a basketball team, and I was hype to make the team, so I asked my parents for a pair of kicks, and they got me these white Reebok's. And basically a the time, the scale was like you had you had Brooks, which was like basic gym class sneaker, then you could elevate to L.A Gear, Catapults were kinda ill.. or you could really come fresh, with Reebok's or Nikes... so I was excited about that pair.
JD: Do you have a big collection now, and how do you go about getting sneakers.
SHD: I don't have a big collection now, I do have couple new pairs from courtesy of Adidas, thank you Adidas, one is a high top teal couple, that is fly, but I like the standard white kinda basic, so I have a pair that is white a red, I love my Nike cross trainers for stomping around in.
JD: Rap now, how do you feel about it, an where do you see it going?
SHD: Rap right now, I feel like some of it doesn't have the feel, and I don't know if its me, or what, but most of it doesn't have the feel of the type of rap music that I like. But there is still lots of great music and the future, and feel good about the future, because Hip -Hop is a very young culture, it's changing and everyone takes it in their own direction, I take it in my own direction, and everyone does, so long as the heart of it is still the same, and its about having fun, self expression, and that sort of stuff, then I think the future is very bright..
JD: And how do you feel about the independent market right now?
SHD: The independent market is ill, ill, it allows me to have a career, you know.. because of the independent ways of making music and promoting music, its just opened everything up, its good for creativity, and its good for music.
After a warm Canadian welcome from a CBC radio host Shad took to the stage for the first time performing in NYC to a packed crowd. After introducing his band, a DJ and bassist, Shad got the crowd jumping right away, with a bouncy track, backed by a heavy bass, and precise cuts. Not soon after Shad brought out an acoustic guitar to accompany his spoken word like delivery before slowing adding the band back in the mix to keep the show live and diverse.
Shad has been compared to fellow Canadian emcee K-OS, and Windy City's native son Common, all good company, and fair comparison. But what sets Shad K apart from his peers is his honest, positive easy conversational type flow.
On the "The Old Prince" album Shad flexes multiple approaches to speaking his mind. On "I Don't Like To" he draws comparisons to modern culture, rappers and products, and how all the elements of modern life that can keep you dizzy. On the upbeat "Now a Daze" Shad goes through the motions as a modern man, outlining the simple struggles to make it in the cold world. On the funny "The Old Price Still Lives at Home" Shad gets into the struggles of getting older and having to pay for things yourself, and how expensive life can be.. "why get a bed and a couch, when you can slouch on a futon instead".
On the very powerful "Brother (Watching)" featuring his parents, Shad is speaking honestly and directly to the young black youth of today, and how modern imagery effects us all, as he explains;
And the fact that the tube only showed blacks
Actin the fool and I was watching...
(saturated with negative images and a limited range of
Possibilities is strange...)
And it's sad cause that naturally do
Sort of condition your mind and over time
That's what's attractive to you
So young blacks don't see themselves in
Or the more practical routes
It's makin' tracks or it's hoops
The Old Prince is one of the most well rounded and positive records I have heard in a long time, and serves as more proof that Hip- Hop is alive and well.
See more of Shad K here.
Saturday, 22 November 2008
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