On his acclaimed 2013 album Flying Colours, Shad rapped a track called Y'all Know Me. But do we really? Here are five things you may not know about Shadrach Kabango, the Kenya-born son of Rwandan parents who was raised from the age of 1 in London, Ont., and is the new host of CBC Radio's Q.
Shad caught the musical bug at London Central Secondary School (where he walked the same halls once tread by David Suzuki, 1982's Miss Universe winner Karen Baldwin and Ontario premiers David Peterson and John Robarts). Last year on the BET show 106 & Park (which endorsed him as "the next rap genius"), Shad listed Common, Eminem, the Roots, Notorious B.I.G., and Outkast as his schoolboy heroes and musical influences.
He's a better rhymer than Drake ever dreamed to be. Onstage at last summer's Field Trip festival in Toronto, Shad paired "Michael Jackson's Thrilla" with "Prince Charles and Camilla."
Shad's an amateur basketball scout, and he's got game. For The Globe and Mail in 2013, the 5-foot-10 1/2-inch hoop-dreaming hip-hopper broke down the hard-court capabilities of Drake, Justin Bieber and Arcade Fire's Win Butler. Could he take them, one on one? "I think if I could get my jump shot to go, I got a chance."
Though widely considered to be more cerebral and less of a braggadocio than the average rap artist, Shad (who holds a bachelor's degree from Wilfrid Laurier University and a master's in liberal studies from Simon Fraser University) is self-confident and not above boasting. From his song Intro: Lost off Flying Colours: "I just may be Jay Z in my lifetime / look at how I'm killing these tracks" and "Where the real emcees at? I'm dying / I need to hear someone as ill as me, stat."
Shad was the only Q host candidate to receive a public endorsement from Norm Macdonald. "I prefer you," said the Canadian comic, a guest during Shad's one-week radio audition last month. "You're awesome. I hope you stay here and do the job."