Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Brother Please. No more Pamela Lees, let’s set it straight. I’m the biggest thing out of Canada till Quebec separates.

Shadrach Kabango was born in Kenya, but his earliest memories land him in London, Ontario Canada. For many, the host city of North America’s second largest ribfest may seem like an odd place to develop skills on the mic…but it worked out for Shadrach.

I’m betting that his mother (a poet) had a lot to do with it.

Since leaving his hometown in London to pursue his music career and a university education, Shad (as he’s known in the music world) has built a solid name for himself. He has opened for Common, performed at Canadian Music Week, and he is signed to Black Box Recordings (owned by Universal). Most recently, Shad's newest album The Old Prince has been nominated for a 2008 Juno award; getting a nod for Rap Recording of the Year. This selection is well deserved, as the album is packed with clever lyrics, a diverse set of themes, and an old-school feel that cannot be ignored.

Top tracks on the album include “Brother (Watching),” “The Old Prince Still Lives at Home,” and “Compromise."

“Brother (Watching)" is a song about the stereotypes and struggles which young black Canadians are forced to deal with as they grow up today; a topic which Shad consciously stayed away from when he began his career. Next, “The Old Prince Still Lives at Home” is a light-hearted track that could easily fit on a Skee-lo album. Finally “Compromise” reeks of Shad's regular feel - an old school beat, lyrics that make you grin, and a socially-aware theme that sparks some introspection.

I first saw Shad perform when I ran shows at the University of Ottawa in 2006 and 2007. Back then, Shad and his band arrived on campus in what looked to be a 1990 Aerostar. The engine was smoking, rust covered the wheel wells, and the van broke down just as they arrived. While his vehicle was ready for the scrap yard, Shad’s performance was more alive than I could have imagined that night, and I have been a fan ever since.

Here’s hoping that The Old Prince nabs that Juno. Maybe then he could score an endorsement deal with Parkway Ford and upgrade to a 2002 Windstar.

Shad - Brother (Watching)
Shad - The Old Prince Still Lives At Home
Shad - Compromise


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