First appeared on IGGY: February 07, 2010
Shadrach Kabango can’t always nail a track on the first go. But since his last album he’s gotten better and better, and he’s even making a buck or two off the hobby these days. He wishes there were more women in rap music so they can speak for themselves. And while he’d like to make it big, he’s not interested in the industry bling it requires. All that information and more is available…not on some online bio…but directly in Shad’s lyrics. Some are off his 2007 album Old Prince, and others from Tsol, his most recent LP. What’s striking about Kenya-born Canada-raised Shad, who sometimes goes by Shad K, is that his raps are conversational. His editing process, napping, his insecurities in the industry, nothing is too private or mundane for a track. But government lies, Shad’s slave ancestry (his parents are Rwandan), Darfur, and long-distance love aren’t too cumbersome either. Whether he’s spouting jokes, layered metaphors, subtle puns, political ideology, or dorky observations, Shad flows easily and evenly like he’s chatting with you, backed by 90s-style breakbeats, electro or Motown samples, and humble hooks that refuse to distract you from the man himself. Even a guest appearance by Canadian indie-rocker Lisa Lobsinger on three tracks is contained and understated.
His contemporaries are probably Jay Z or Kanye West, but Shad has his own unique voice that comes through in his sharp, proud, biting rhymes. His truthfulness is beautiful to hear.