Kids & Explosions Spinner joined forces with the Red Bull Music Academy…
- Posted on Mar 25th 2011 2:00PM by Lonny Knapp
The Canadian music industry likes to celebrate its artists, but Shad says that the number of annual industry awards celebrations, at times, seems excessive.
"Wow, we have a lot of awards in music," he tells Spinner. "It's always nice when people recognize the work you've done, but really, shouldn't [we] be rewarding nurses or doctors -- people that save lives?"
Despite their frivolous nature, industry awards give artists a boost. Each of the aforementioned nominations introduced the Kenyan-born MC to a larger and more diverse audience, and these days, he is a rapper with tremendous crossover appeal.
On his Juno-nominated album, 'TSOL,' Shad traces the linguistic origins of his name back to a slave in Babylon, flows hilarious and self-deprecating rhymes over classic -- but not tired -- beats and collaborates with Brendan Canning and Lisa Lobsinger of Broken Social Scene.
Hip-hop purists call him a torchbearer for the golden era of conscious hip-hop, while indie kids claim Shad as their own. There is no need to fight -- there's enough Shad to go around.
"Growing up there was a lot more division than there is now," he says. "Everybody is collaborating with everyone, and people listen to all types or music. If it's dope, it's dope."
Fellow nominees Ghettosocks, Eternia and MoSs, D-Sisive and Drake represent the diverse, intelligent and genre-defying sounds emerging from the great white north. While industry awards often wrestle with fringe genres such as hip-hop, Shad thinks this year the industry panel was spot on in its choices.
"There is a different range of voices, styles and levels of artists," he says. "I can genuinely say that I like every artist that is nominated."
Drake, who was nominated for four Grammy awards earlier this year but walked away empty-handed, leads the Juno pack with six nominations and is clearly favoured to win. He is also hosting the award ceremonies and Shad hopes that, for Drake's sake, show producers have a plan to avoid a potentially embarrassing situation.
"They better plan it so he's not handing himself any awards, 'cause that would just make him look like a d---," he jokes.
Shad's not counting himself out, even if his win-to-nomination ratio is quite low. In fact, until he took home his Indie Award, he was batting zero. Going into the Juno awards, Shad is happy to maintain his underdog status.
"From a pressure standpoint, I feel pretty good," he says. "If I keep this up, at least people won't be calling me overrated."