A&E » Arts

The rebirth of the Old Prince

Acclaimed Canadian hip hop lyricist releases third album, TSOL, this week



Who: Shad & Grand Analog

When: Wednesday, June 2, 9 p.m.

Where: Garfinkel's

Cost: Advance tickets $10 at Garfinkel's, Billabong, Katmandu and www.clubzone.com/ciaconcerts

Anyone who's into Canadian hip hop has probably come across Shadrach Kabango (better known simply as Shad) on their quest for the latest and greatest new beats and lyrics. Over the past few years, this rising talent has made a name for himself on the scene with his clever lyrics and fresh, indie musical appeal.

But here's a little something that you might not know.

Shad never really planned on getting into the music biz. In fact, rapping was really just a hobby until about six years ago, when his sister and friend decided to enter him into a local radio station's annual unsigned talent competition. He ended up taking home top prize - $17,500 - which he invested in recording his debut album.

"I didn't know if I'd ever really get the chance to make an album at all, so it was very exciting to me. I never really was ever looking too far beyond that."

Even after winning, he didn't throw himself 100 per cent into the music game. He continued to study, going on to finish his Honours degree in Business Administration.

"At the time, music was more a hobby and I just felt like I had the time and the energy to do both," he explained.

So, he capitalized on his focus and momentum, and says that now, knowing he has the degree to fall back on has helped to alleviate some of the pressure that comes along with being in the music industry.

"It helps me pursue music in a way that I feel is the way I want to go about it, and if it doesn't work on those terms, then that's cool, I can do something else," he added.

But so far, things seem to be working out fine. In fact, that debut album, This Is Over, gained Shad instant cred for his tight wordplay, resulting in sold out shows and earning him opening spots for performers like Common, Lupe Fiasco, Classified and The Slip. Next up was The Old Prince, which kept the momentum going.

Thus far into a relatively young career, Shad has been nominated for a 2008 Juno for Rap Recording of the Year and landed spots in Exclaim's Top 10 Hip Hop Albums of the Year and a five-star rating in Now Magazine.

Now, he's on the verge of releasing his third album, TSOL, this week, then he'll be heading out on a cross-Canada tour with two other well-known Canadian artists: Grand Analog and D-Sisive.