Shad (rapper)

Shadrach Kabango (born July 18, 1982), better known as Shad or Shad K, is a Canadian rapper and broadcaster. He has released six studio albums since 2005. Four of his albums have been shortlisted for the Polaris Music Prize, and he won a Juno Award for Rap Recording of the Year in 2011. In 2013, CBC Music named Shad the second-greatest Canadian rapper of all time.[1][2] Shad hosted Q on CBC Radio One from 2015 to 2016[3][4] and hosts the International Emmy and Peabody Award-winning documentary series Hip-Hop Evolution (2016–present) on HBO Canada and Netflix.

Shad @ The Mod Club (cropped).jpg
Background information
Birth nameShadrach Kabango
Also known asShad K
Your Boy Tony Braxton
Born (1982-07-18) July 18, 1982 (age 38)
OriginLondon, Ontario, Canada
GenresAlternative hip hop
Occupation(s)Rapper, broadcaster
Years active2005–present
LabelsBlack Box Music, Decon, Duck Down, Secret City
Associated actsSkratch Bastid, Holy Fuck, Dallas Green, DJ. T. LO

Early lifeEdit

Born in Kenya to Rwandan parents, Shad was raised in London, Ontario.[5] His mother worked as a lab technologist in a London hospital and his father was a machinist.[6] He attended London Central Secondary School.

Music careerEdit

While an undergraduate student at Wilfrid Laurier University, Shad won $17,500 from 91.5 The Beat's Rhythm of the Future talent competition.[7] He was entered in the radio contest by his sister.[8] The prize money was used to finance his self-released debut album When This Is Over (2005). The album was recognized for Shad's honest lyrics[9] and focus on social causes—for example, the track "I'll Never Understand" examines the Rwandan genocide and includes poetry written by his mother Bernadette Kabango.[10]

In 2007, Shad was signed by Black Box Recordings for a three-album deal and released his second album, The Old Prince.[11] The album was supported by four singles, most prominently "The Old Prince Still Lives at Home", with its accompanying viral music video.[12] In 2008, The Old Prince received a Juno Award nomination for Rap Recording of the Year and was a short-list nominee for the 2008 Polaris Music Prize.[13] The music video for the single "The Old Prince Still Lives at Home" was nominated for two MuchMusic Video Awards in 2008.[14]

Shad released his third album, TSOL, in 2010. TSOL was a short-list nominee for the 2010 Polaris Music Prize, the video for the song "Rose Garden" received a nomination for a 2011 MuchMusic Video Award, and the album won the Juno Award for Rap Recording of the Year at the 2011 Juno Awards.[15] On beating out Canadian compatriot Drake for the Juno, Shad said in an interview: "I did not think for a second that I would win. Not for one second. He's massive. He's massive in the States, he's massive in Canada."[16]

Shad performing in 2009

In 2012, Shad released the EP "Melancholy and the Infinite Shadness"[17] and in June 2013, he released a collaborative EP with Skratch Bastid entitled The Spring Up.[18] Shad's fourth album,[19] Flying Colours, was released on October 15, 2013.[20] This album was nominated for the Juno Award for Rap Recording of the Year in 2014, and was a short-list nominee for the 2014 Polaris Music Prize.[21] In December 2014, Shad released a collaborative EP with DJ T. LO entitled "Boarding Pass".[22]

In 2016, he released a 90s-influenced soft-rock album, Adult Contempt, under the pseudonym Your Boy Tony Braxton.[23] The alter ego was based on "the idea of a dude named Tony Braxton who likes to sing (but obviously isn't as good as the famous Toni Braxton)."[24] Musically, the album was inspired by Michael Penn, Terence Trent D'arby, The Cure, Bryan Adams, and Janet Jackson.[25]

In the same year, Shad collaborated with Tanya Tagaq on "Centre", a track from her album Retribution, and also recorded for Homeboy Sandman, Skratch Bastid, and A Tribe Called Red (on We Are the Halluci Nation).

In July 2018, Shad released the lead single, "The Fool Pt 1 (Get It Got It Good)" from his new album, A Short Story About a War. Two follow-up singles, "The Fool Pt. 3 (Frame of Mind)" and "The Stone Throwers (Gone in a Blink)", were released in prior to the album's release.[26] The album was released in October 2018 on Secret City Records and included collaborations with Lido Pimienta, Kaytranada, Ian Kamau, Eternia, and Yukon Blonde. A Short Story About a War is a concept album, which explores the same war from multiple perspectives.[27] The album was short-listed for the 2019 Polaris Music Prize, marking Shad's 4th Polaris short-list nomination, the most of any artist.[28]

In April 2020, Shad indicated he was working on finishing a new album.[29] He also was featured on Tobi's "24 (Toronto Remix)" and its corresponding music video, along with Haviah Mighty, Jazz Cartier, and Ejji Smith.[30] In April 2021, Shad released the single "Out of Touch", featuring pHoenix Pagliacci, followed by the single "Work", featuring Skratch Bastid, the next month.[31][32] In June 2021, Shad announced his new album, TAO , would be released October 1, 2021.[33] He also released the song "Storm", which featured pHoenix Pagliacci and George Elliott Clarke.[33]

Television and radio workEdit

Q (2015–2016)Edit

In March 2015, it was announced that Shad would replace Jian Ghomeshi as host of CBC Radio One's Q.[3] In August 2016, the CBC announced that he would be replaced by Tom Power.[4][34]

Hip Hop Evolution (2016–present)Edit

In the four-part documentary series Hip-Hop Evolution, Shad interviewed multiple noted hip-hop and rap artists to explore the origins of this music genre. This documentary was featured in 2016 Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival and shown on HBO Canada[35] On December 2, 2016 Netflix released the series internationally. The series went on to be one of the 2016 Peabody Award winners[36] and won an International Emmy Award for Best Arts Programming in 2017.[37] On October 19, 2018 Netflix released a second season of the series and a third season was released on September 6, 2019.[38] Hip Hop Evolution's fourth season was released on January 17, 2020.[39]

Musical style and influencesEdit

Shad is described as a "conscious" and "reflective" rapper,[8][40] known for his witty lyrics on heartfelt subjects.[41] Shad has stated that he was influenced by the artists that he listened to in high school, such as Common, Lauryn Hill, Eminem, The Roots, Notorious B.I.G., and Outkast.[42][43]

Personal lifeEdit

Shad in 2017

Shad is bilingual, speaking English and French. He holds a business degree from Wilfrid Laurier University[43] and a master's degree in liberal studies from Simon Fraser University.[44] Shad and his wife married in 2016; they have two daughters.[45]


Studio albumsEdit


  • Two Songs (2011) (with Dallas Green)
  • Melancholy and the Infinite Shadness (2012)
  • The Spring Up (2013) (with Skratch Bastid)
  • Holy Shad (2014) (with Holy Fuck)
  • Boarding Pass (2014) (with DJ T.LO)


  • "I Don't Like To" (2008)
  • "Brother (Watching)" (2008)
  • "The Old Prince Still Lives at Home" (2008)
  • "Compromise" (2009)
  • "Yaa I Get It" (2010)
  • "Rose Garden" (2010)
  • "We, Myself and I" (2010)
  • "Keep Shining" (2011)
  • "Give You All I Can" (2011)
  • "It Ain't Over" (2012)
  • "Stylin'" (2013)
  • "Fam Jam (Fe Sum Immigrins)" (2013)
  • "The Fool Pt 1 (Get it Got it Good)" (2018)
  • "The Fool Pt. 3 (Frame of Mind)" (2018)
  • "The Stone Throwers (Gone In a Blink)" (2018)
  • "Out of Touch (feat. Phoenix Pagliacci)" (2021)

Guest appearancesEdit


  1. ^ "Who is Shad? 4 things to know about the new face of Q". March 11, 2015. Retrieved May 28, 2020.
  2. ^ "Shad: Why the thoughtful rapper is at the top of his game". Retrieved May 28, 2020.
  3. ^ a b "Shad named new host of CBC's Q." CBC News. March 10, 2015.
  4. ^ a b "CBC's Q replacing Shad as host". CBC News, August 15, 2016.
  5. ^ Dixon, Guy (October 29, 2007). "Echoes of hip hop's heyday". The Globe and Mail. p. R3.
  6. ^ Kaplan, Ben (January 16, 2008). "'He knows who he is': And you should, too: Why Shad K is Canada's best rapper". National Post. p. AL1.
  7. ^ Perlich, Tim (February 16, 2006). "Six-string rap: Canuck hiphop threat Shad sticks with guitar". Now. Retrieved July 26, 2011.
  8. ^ a b "Shad gives a voice to his hip-hop generation". The Georgia Straight. August 17, 2011. Retrieved October 14, 2019.
  9. ^ "Shad". The Gazette. December 17, 2010.
  10. ^ Quinlan, Thomas (October 2005). "Shad: When This Is Over". Exclaim!. Retrieved January 12, 2008.
  11. ^ Carlick, Stephen (April 6, 2010). "Exclusive: Shad Preps New Studio Album for May Release". Exclaim!.
  12. ^ "Shad Gets It". Retrieved October 14, 2019.
  13. ^ Warner, Tyrone (March 17, 2011). "JUNO nominee Shad's scholarly days coming to an end". CTV Television Network. Archived from the original on February 22, 2014.
  14. ^ Patrick, Ryan B. (June 2009). "Shad Gets It". Exclaim!. Archived from the original on September 6, 2010.
  15. ^ "Shad nips Drake for rap Juno". Toronto Star. March 27, 2011.
  16. ^ Bernad, Adam (August 30, 2011). "Shad Interview". Retrieved September 1, 2013.
  17. ^ "Shad 'Melancholy and the Infinite Shadness' EP | Exclaim!".
  18. ^ Aborisade, Femi (July 16, 2013). "Shad & Skratch Bastid – The Spring Up". Potholes in My Blog.
  19. ^ Matthews, Aaron (October 11, 2013). "Shad - Flying Colours". Exclaim!.
  20. ^ Hudson, Alex (July 30, 2013). "Shad Sets Release Date for 'Flying Colours,' Releases New Single". Exclaim!.
  21. ^ "Arcade Fire, Drake, Shad make Polaris Music Prize short list". CTV News, July 15, 2014.
  22. ^ "Shad & DJ T.LO Boarding Pass EP | Exclaim!".
  23. ^ "Stream Your Boy Tony Braxton Adult Contempt". Stereogum, July 15, 2016.
  24. ^ Ritchie, Kevin (July 27, 2016). "Your Boy Tony Braxton". NOW Magazine. Retrieved January 10, 2020.
  25. ^ "Shad Becomes Your Boy Tony Braxton for 'Adult Contempt'". Retrieved January 10, 2020.
  26. ^ "Shad Shares "The Stone Throwers (Gone In a Blink)"". Retrieved January 11, 2020.
  27. ^ Siddiqui, Tabassum (December 13, 2018). "Shad introduces the characters that populate his Short Story About A War". NOW Magazine. Retrieved January 11, 2020.
  28. ^ "Quebec artists shine, rap thrives: Highlights from the Polaris Music Prize short list - CityNews Toronto".
  29. ^ "How Shad Is Coping with Isolation: Old NBA Games and Finishing His New Album". Retrieved June 6, 2020.
  30. ^ Gordon, Holly (May 15, 2020). "How TOBi made 'history for the culture' with his star-studded video for '24 (Toronto Remix)'". CBC Music.
  31. ^ "Listen: Toronto rapper Shad returns with new track 'Out of Touch (feat. Phoenix Pagliacci)' | Indie88". Retrieved April 14, 2021.
  32. ^ "Premiere: Shad Laments "Work" (or Lack Thereof) on New Track". Complex. Retrieved June 22, 2021.
  33. ^ a b "Shad Announces New Album 'TAO' | Exclaim!". Retrieved June 22, 2021.
  34. ^ "Shad canned from CBC Radio's 'q'". Toronto Sun. The Canadian Press. Retrieved August 16, 2016.
  35. ^ "Original Documentary Series HIP-HOP EVOLUTION Explores the Birth and Far-Reaching Influences of Hip-Hop, September 4 on HBO Canada". Bell Canada. Retrieved October 30, 2016.
  36. ^ "The Peabody 30: Award Winners for 2016". The Peabody Awards. Retrieved October 19, 2017.
  37. ^ "Canadian documentary series Hip-Hop Evolution wins International Emmy Award". November 21, 2017.
  38. ^ "Hip Hop Evolution".
  39. ^ "Here's When 'Hip-Hop Evolution' Season 4 Will Premiere". Retrieved June 10, 2020.
  40. ^ "Shad: A rapper about so much more than gangstas". Retrieved October 14, 2019.
  41. ^ "Shad: The rapper-next-door | The Star". June 6, 2010. Retrieved October 14, 2019.
  42. ^ "Who is Shad? 4 things to know about the new face of Q | The Star". March 11, 2015. Retrieved October 14, 2019.
  43. ^ a b "Shad K : Shad K Is Just Beginning In Never Ending Talent". Soul Shine Magazine. June 23, 2006.
  44. ^ "Arts Convocation includes Juno winner Shad". SFU. Archived from the original on June 15, 2013. Retrieved January 23, 2012.
  45. ^ October 25, Joe Belanger Updated; 2018 (October 25, 2018). "Shad examines world's troubles in powerful new album | The London Free Press". Retrieved October 12, 2019.CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)

External linksEdit