Internationally acclaimed hip-hop artist, Shad, will be performing in Smithers on July 5 and 6 as part of the Midsummer Music Festival.
On a wave of varied and shape-shifting creativity that has seen Shad take on broadcasting, documentary-making, writing, and finishing his Masters degree, he is now back making music with a new album A Short Story About War that has received good reviews in the Canadian and global press.
Shad makes music that is honest, witty, literary and socially aware and is defined by its smooth, bouncy aesthetic that brims with positivity. The Guardian has called Shad “Canada’s nicest MC,” while Pitchfork has called him “A new standard bearer for positive rap.” He can provoke thought with a smile, while keeping his audiences nodding throughout his critically acclaimed live performances. Shad has toured extensively through North America and Europe, but this will be his first appearance in Smithers.
Born in Kenya to Rwandan Parents, Shad immigrated with his family to Canada at the age of one and grew up in London, Ont. He was first recognized as a musical force when he won a talent competition at the age of 22 in Kitchener, Ont. called Rhythm of the Future and won studio time and resources to record professionally. This led to the recording of his first record When This is Over. Over the course of the next 10 years, Shad would record six more albums, many of which received high praise, nominations and awards.
Shad won a Juno for Best Rap Recording of the Year in 2011 for his album TSOL and was nominated three times for the prestigious Polaris Music Prize. A CBC poll crowned Shad as Canada’s second greatest rapper of all time just behind Drake, while the National Post called him “Canada’s best rapper.” Appreciative listeners, crowds and critics viewed Shad as a positive cultural force who was worth paying attention to.
In 2015, Shad changed gears and auditioned to host CBCs flagship talk-radio program, Q, after Gian Gomeshi was dismissed. Shad was ultimately successful and hosted the show for a year and a half, interviewing some of the worlds biggest cultural stars.
After leaving Q, Shad released a documentary-series on HBO called Hip Hop Evolution that detailed the rise and shifts within hip-hop and rap music culture through interviews with the genre’s biggest stars. The program won an international Emmy, and a Peabody award and can now be streamed on Netflix.
Shad has shifted his gaze between artistic mediums throughout his vibrant career but has maintained his thoughtful, clever, and positive nature in all of his projects. As improbable as it may seem that an artist of this magnitude is coming to Smithers to play, it’s happening, and you can catch him at one or both of his two sets. Shad will take stage at 11 p.m. on Friday, July 5, and again on Saturday July 6 at 4 p.m.
– Brennan Anderson