Thursday, May 8, 2008

News:: Shad Plays Halifax on Skate4Cancer Tour

London, Ont. MC Shad was in Halifax in February to play the Marquee with Classified, and only three short months later he's back to play the Pavilion as part of the Skate4Cancer tour. I'm a big fan of what Shad does - I thought his last album The Old Prince was awesome, certainly deserved its Juno nod, more so than most of its fellow nominees - and so that would be reason enough to check out this show. But add in the fact that it's connected to a great cause in Skate4Cancer (more about S4C at the bottom of this post) and really it's win-win for everyone.

Shad actually took the time to answer some of our questions to help promo the Pavilion show and S4C in general, and I think it's a pretty solid read, so check it out for yourself:

hh:: Congrats on The Old Prince, I think it's fantastic, what's the response to the album been like as you've toured since its release?
shad:: I've been pleasantly surprised with the response. I'm glad you dig it.

hh:: I think you toured a bit with Classified and the Halflife crew, what was that like considering your respective audiences are likely a little different?
shad:: It was different night to night but generally the crowds were just excited for a show. I'm used to playing for a wide range of audiences so this was actually a closer match in terms of fan base than I'm used to. They were a fun crew of guys to tour with.

hh:: Congrats on your Juno nomination, how was that whole experience for you? Were you hoping to win? (Shameless suck-up, but I would have voted for you easily) I know the hip hop community in Canada has always had a bit of a skeptical view of the Junos, what's your take on it?
shad:: Thanks. I wasn't expecting to win to be honest. It was an honour and the nomination was unexpected so it was great to be there in Calgary with some of the people that I work with and perform with and sort of enjoy the honour together. I think the Junos and awards in general are a nice way to get a lot of people together and celebrate whats going on musically in this country cuz there is some exciting music being made here. I think its kind of lame that some of the categories are based entirely on sales. Not that there's a perfect way to decide who wins these things, but basing it entirely on sales just kind of takes the fun out the process I think. With any awards it's never gonna be perfect, and it's not the reason people should be making music, but it's still a cool thing and especially if it keeps improving and reflecting more and more accurately what's happening in Canadian music. It's important to celebrate accomplishments in anything.

hh:: I'm not even sure where I read this, but did you ever wear that shirt that said "black people love Feist" to the Juno's?
shad:: haha. No. I was too scared to introduce myself let alone wear that shirt! that was something i wrote in my myspace bio at some point as a joke. I'm a huge fan though. And her performance on the Sunday was incredible... love that woman.

hh:: How did you get hooked up with Rob and Skate4Cancer?
shad:: I met rob through a friend, Justin Broadbent, who did design work for both of us in the past. I played a show for skate4cancer in... 2006 i think and we kept up the relationship. we're friends. We have lots of mutual friends. I'm continually impressed by the guy and what he's dedicated his life to. He has vision and he has a genuine love for people and for what he's doing. I'm glad I can be a part of whats he's doing.

hh:: Have you done any work with an organization like this before? Sometimes it almost seems a bit cliche, but do you think kids are likely to be more receptive to getting involved with something like this if the message is coming from people they look up to like skaters or musicians?
shad:: I think the music brings the people together and from there, the message can be spread. Music usually plays some part in of most social/charitable/political movements. I help out with some different not-for-profit programs. As musician, as an organizer - I'm a pretty lazy dude I have to admit, but I try to support people I see doing positive things when i can.

hh:: Skateboarding and hip hop have always had a pretty good relationship, did you have any skating connections before getting involved? Have you ever skated?
shad:: ha. Nope. No balance. Fear of falling... I'm more into basketball.

hh:: Likely because of the frivolous direction mainstream hip hop has gone in over the last 10 years or so, I don't think rappers on the whole are looked at as the most socially aware group anymore. Based on your experience, do you think more hip hop artists would participate in this kind of initiative if given the chance?
shad:: The music business is a weird thing where so much is focused on the individual or the band. It can be really hard to escape the mentality that it's all about you and your career. It's hard for anybody really, no matter what you do in life. I think hip hop artists and musicians in general would love to see their music used to help spread a message or support inspiring people and help them do their thing, but the modern go-for-self mentality in hip hop and in music and in society at large makes us forget whats really important and what really makes us happy at the end of the day. So I guess all that to say I think more artists would get down with this sort of thing if there wasn't those pressures to push their own agenda all the time.
That being said, there's of course the reality that artists can't donate their services all the time if they hope to make a living at what they do. Also, theres a lot of CDN hip hop artists out there that support social and political movements on the underground level. For example, just yesterday a friend in Montreal was telling me about a collaboration between a hip hop artist there and an Algerian man seeking refugee status here in Canada and the project raised awareness about his situation. A Toronto based group called LAL came up and did their CD release show along with them in MTL to help support, so there's lots of things going on in the hip hop community that fly under the radar...


hh:: What is up next for you in 2008, are you working on a new album?
shad:: Hopefully getting this record out in a couple other places. maybe tour japan a bit - the album was just released there. we'll see what happens...

Thanks to Shad for the excellent interview, and I encourage everyone to check out the show tomorrow (it's an early one I think, 6:30 according to the S4C myspace). If you can't make it to the show, check out the other events Skate4Cancer has going on and see if there's a way for you to get involved.


Skate4Cancer is a organization/movement started buy Rob Dyer, who skated from LA to Toronto a few years ago to help raise cancer awareness in youth. It's really an amazing story, and Rob and his crew are involved in a number of events right now, so please check out the S4C myspace for more info.

Posted at 12:06 PM by naedoo :: 0 comments

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