Shad Interview Part 2

This is the transcript of the interview I did with Shad at Call the Office in London last week. It is available as a free podcast as well so go and download it. Also consider subscribing to the podcast so you can hear the best in underground hip-hop and artist interviews each and every week.

If you missed Part 1 of the transcript, you go back and read it now, or stream it with the player below. Without further ado, here is Part 2 of the interview.

Chase: “I’m lucky enough to be sitting with Shad just before he goes on stage a little bit later tonight at Call the Office in London, Ontario. how ya doing Shad?”

Shad: “Doing well.”

Chase: “Awesome, I want to talk a little more about the writing process because I’m a writer and that’s what really interests me. I want to know how much of yourself you put into your rhymes. Like how much is autobiographical?”

Shad: “That’s a good question. Sometimes, I don’t even know. It’s always kind of routed in the first person. I guess you could say, everything I sort of write is routed in first person. But I guess, everyone has different aspects of their personality. I think because music is something creative, you can kind of shape that side of your personality a little bit different depending on the song. So a song like ‘The Old Prince Still Live at Home,’ all the material is not autobiographical but that’s a side of my personality just joking around and that style of humour. That’s a good question ‘cause sometimes I don’t even know. It’s always routed in my personality but when you’re entertaining, I think what happens is that you take certain aspects of your personality and make it something bigger.”

Chase: “I’m glad you mentioned the ‘Old Prince Still Lives at Home’ because that’s hilarious. You almost don’t see that enough these days. I can think of some comedy rap like DJ Jazzy Jeff and The Fresh Prince, and Organized Rhyme if we’re talking about a Canadian one, but you don’t see it a lot. Hip-hop seems to be serious too much.”

Shad: “Yeah, I think what people love about music is that it’s fun. Ya know, ya gotta have fun with it. You can take some time and you can say some things that are important to you. You can make all different kinds of music but. ya know, I love music because it’s fun. That’s why I make it, that’s why I perform, that’s how I got into it, so I think it’s really a sad thing if that disappears from hip-hop.”

Chase: “Yeah I definitely agree with you. You’ve got another lyric that speaks on that too. I really like focusing on lyrics ‘cause I’m a lyrical dude, in case you haven’t noticed.”

Shad: “That’s cool to me, yeah.”

Chase: “On your song ‘I Heard You Had a Voice Like an Angel’ you say ‘fools wanna make stars instead of music that’s smart or special because art on a level that’s real can be harder to pedal.’ That says something right there. It’s almost hard to have intelligent art these days. You gotta have something dumbed down for the fools, which is kind of a shame because your music is nothing like that. Unfortunately, it’s not mainstream. I’d like to see more of this kind of music be in the mainstream.”

Shad: “Yeah, I think so too. I think that that’s an important thing for art to do. Ya know, it’s meant to be challenging, it’s meant to make people think and make people laugh, and make people feel something. But I think in an age where art just becomes a commodity and it’s sold, I think people rely on really simple, easy, quick things to sell it, instead of saying let’s make real music and put it out and give it to people and trust they’re not stupider that we are. I think that it’s just that respect for your audience. If you make real music, I think it means that you respect your audience, and you respect the community of people you share music with, and if you don’t then it means that you think everyone’s dumb.”

Chase: “That’s good to see an artist not dumb it down, just say what’s on your mind, get your message across, have fun with it-”
Shad: “Yeah, have fun with it and people will feel it. We’re all the same. If what you do is genuine, people can tell.”

Chase: “And that’s what hip-hop is about. And that’s why you can’t compromise. Speaking of which, I want to play that track because it’s one of my favourites. So let’s spin that one and we’ll come back and talk some more. This is ‘Compromise’ off of Shad’s awesome album ‘The Old Prince.’ This is Chase March on the interview tip for DOPEfm. Stay tuned, we’ll be right back.”

Chase: “All right, that was ‘Compromise’ by Shad. I love that song. It’s a great song. So how do you go about shooting your videos? Do you have a team you use?”

Shad: “Yup, there’s a couple directors that I go to for the most part and a production crew that I work with for the most part.”

Chase: “Nice! Yeah, you’ve got quite a few videos so that’s good to see. It’s another way for people to see and get to discover Shad.”

Shad: “Definitely!”

Chase: “And here once again, you’re talking about your writing process in this song, “I admit like the Raptors I got weak first drafts.” So, is that true? Do you really work and edit your stuff and hone it and polish it?”

Shad: “Yeah, definitely, definitely. I kind of feel that that’s what I contribute, my words and the way I deliver them. So, I try and really make sure that that’s compelling.”

Chase: “Yeah, ‘cause I’m kind of rooted in old school hip-hop and I write a little bit but I have a really hard time when I write getting the rhymes to fall in different places. I’m so old school they fall on the snares all the time. You’ve got some amazing ways like end-rhymes, internal rhymes, and the different ways you play with where your rhymes fall with interior rhymes and slant rhymes and everything. It’s amazing!”

Shad: “Thanks, man.”

Chase: “You talk about the ‘super-difficult, seven syllables at minimal, a-typical, schemes that you got ‘em packed in.’ That’s saying a lot in such a short amount of time. It’s almost seems like such a trend now to put in so many syllables just to put them in and not worry about what you’re saying.”

Shad: “Yeah, I always try to put the meaning and the content first and then try to say it in a way that’s interesting but first and foremost, you gotta have something to say, it’s not just about rhyming syllables.”

Chase: “Yeah, I definitely agree with that. You kind of get at other emcees there like ‘when was the last time you grabbed a pen and worked your brains out, spat flames out.’ So that’s like a nice way to kind of diss without actually saying, ‘yo, you’re wack.’ like you’re saying, ‘come on, get your pen and sharpen your rhymes, edit your stuff, make it better, fine tune it.’”

Shad: “Again, it comes down to considering your audience. You’re sharing music with people and you expect them to listen. It’s like, ‘Do your best!’”

Chase: “Definitely. This is from ‘Compromise,’ which we played earlier. You actually get on some real issues in the track. I should’ve tackled that as soon as we got back from the song. You talk about poverty in that song, ‘I’m angry that some can’t eat meanwhile I’m letting a damn feast of pastas and canned meats rot in my pantry.’ And that really is a shame because all the tragedies in the world, sometimes we don’t actually look and see all that we do have in our society and culture and how lucky we are, and how we really need to do something about that.

Shad: “That song goes in a lot of different directions like content wise but, I think ultimately, both of the verses end on something kind of serious. We all want to be people who are generous and positive. And I think sometimes we forget that that’s something we need to commit to every day and remember if you have stuff, then you have stuff, and you kind of have the responsibility to do something good with it.”

Chase: “Nice, that’s definitely a good point there. What are you bumping in your ride right now? What kind of music are you listening to?”

Shad: “My DJ had a CD with a bunch of new Talib Kweli stuff so I was kind of listening to that. I always listen to range a music, old, new, all different kind of styles. So that’s kind of what my DJ throws on when we’re in the car, or if we’re going from hip-hop show to hip-hop show sometimes we don’t listen to hip-hop in the car and just listen to whatever’s on the radio.”

Chase: “Nice. I think people are really surprised too that, ya know, ‘Oh you listen to country music.’ I mean, rappers don’t just listen to rap all the time,

Shad: “And I think, actually, like usually the best rappers don’t. The best musicians don’t only listen to one kind of music, ya know? Just in general, like everybody else in the world, you don’t just listen to the same stuff all the time.”

Chase: “I think it surprises a lot of people. People judge things way too often and way to quick. Like people will look at me in front of the classroom and say, ‘You like rap? How can you like rap?’ or you skateboard and there’s no reason to be making those kind of judgments. I mean, everybody is everybody and we all like different things and have different tastes.”

Shad: “Yeah, and I think that’s cool. That’s what makes people interesting. That’s what makes us not all the same. It’s like one guy like hip-hop music and country music, another guy likes hip-hop music and polka music, ya know? It’s like we all are interesting people.”

Chase: “So do you draw any influences, because I know you’re a well-educated man, because we’ve already talked about your university degrees. Do you draw influences from what you read as well as what you listen to?”

Shad: “In a sense, maybe you can say that. I’ve don’t think I’ve ever written anything that’s been directly influenced by something that I’ve read. But, always it just impacts your thinking in a way that you can’t necessarily dissect.”

Chase: “I’ve never asked this question before but you’re on tour right now, did you bring a book with you?”

Shad: “I didn’t actually, It’s just a little four-day run so.”

Chase: “Oh yeah, ‘cause that’s a short one.”

Shad: “Yeah, if it were a longer one, you gotta roll with some literature, especially if you have days off, you gotta have something to do. Yeah, so usually I have a book or two.”

That ends part two of the interview transcript. Please come back tomorrow to read Part 3 or go and download the podcast so you can listen to the entire interview right now. Please subscribe to DOPEfm as well so you can receive all of our great hip-hop mix shows and interviews.

See you Monday for Part 3 of the Shad Interview.

5 Comments on Shad Interview Part 2

  1. This is the first time I've heard Shad. Not bad. And local. How cool.
    You cool
    🙂
    Me like it.

  2. Anonymous // March 12, 2010 at 11:47 am //

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  3. Hi Ela,

    You're cool too. Thanks! I'm glad you liked it.

    Hi Anonymous,

    I'm glad you found this interview useful.

  4. I enjoyed reading Part Two as much as Part One. Shad seems to be a person I would like…and I said in my comment to Part One, this is a good learning for me.

    Had you not done this interview, I would probably have never read or listened to anything by Shad. Not a good reflection on me, but it does show me to take a chance to learn new people. Thanks:~)

  5. Hi Sara,

    Thanks for your amazing comments. I'm sure they will make Shad's day when he reads them as much as they made my day.

    You are right. It is a good idea to try listening to new things every now and then.

    Thanks for listening.

Comments are closed.