Shad performed at the DSU's sold out show. (Photo: Adam Scotti)

Shad rocks the Grawood

Canadian hip-hop artist Shad K's busy year continues with another trip to the east coast

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The Grawood was bumpin’ last night as one of Canada’s best up-and-coming rap artists, Shad K (Shadrach Kabango), performed to a sold-out crowd. The Juno-winning rapper kept the fans on their feet with a great mix of new and old school hip-hop.

This was Shad’s third time in Halifax since May and he’s glad to have the opportunity to visit the East Coast, more than a lot of Canadian artists are able to.

“I’ve always liked the East Coast, but it is kind of a hard place to get to,” he says. “We came here on tour in May and then … with Classified (in November) … and now I’m back again. So, unique circumstances have brought me out here a couple of more times than usual.”

Shad also traveled to Rwanda, where his parents were born and still live, in September for the Kigali Up folk festival. The festival, organized by fellow Canadian artist and Rwandan-born Mighty PoPo, was the first of its kind in the country. Shad says the experience was great.

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Shad talks about performing for university crowds.

“It was super cool. I was really glad to be a part of it because it was my first time playing (in Rwanda). One of the interesting things I found is that people relate to music the same way everywhere. All I can really do is get on stage and share my passion for playing.”

It’s been a busy year for the Kenyan-born rapper. He won his first Juno in March for Rap Recording of the Year for his 2010 album TSOL. He also graduated from Simon Fraser University in April with a master's degree in liberal studies.

Shad acknowledges there were times when juggling his music career and his studies was difficult, but ultimately it was worth it.

“If you’re interested in music and interested in school and you can pursue both of them, then why not do it? I find that when you actually enjoy something, you can find a way to get it done.”

Halifax-based hip-hop group Three Sheet opened the show with an impressive performance highlighted by the beatboxing skills of EMC and the soulful voice of singer Vanessa Furlong.

Shad made his first album, When This Is Over (2005), with $17,500 he won in a competition on a Kitchener, Ont., radio station. His second album, The Old Prince, was released by Black Box Recordings in 2008 and was nominated for a number of awards, including a Juno for Rap Recording of the Year. He also released a mixtape in December, called Besides, made up of collaborations he has done over the course of his career. He says he’s currently in the early stages of making another album.

Shad travelled to Newfoundland today for his first-ever show in St. John’s.

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