March 26

For The Innovators Series we will be speaking to people who are changing the status quo all over the world. For the first conversation in this series we had the chance to speak to Canadian hip-hop artist, Shad. He is certainly a man of many talents having released 5 albums, mixtapes and a bunch of collaborations since bursting onto the scene in 2005. In addition to being Canada’s best rapper (could someone please forward this to Drake? I believe his address is something, something, something…The Six) Shad has hosted Q for CBC radio and Hip-Hop Evolution, a Peabody award winning documentary series which explored the history of hip-hop, tracing it back to the inceptive hip-hop party at 1520 Sedgwick Avenue in The Bronx where DJ Kool Herc performed at his sister’s birthday party.


Despite his love of naps, Shad is a super busy guy, so we want to say a huge thanks to him for taking the time to answer our questions.


TI // What trends in the music industry do you think are poised to have a big impact in 2018 and beyond?


I think the music industry is going through a ton of changes right now. There’s more music than ever out there and people are getting music from a wider range of platforms than ever before, so it’s an overwhelming landscape for the industry and for fans. The audience for live music has many options, and as a result, many excellent touring acts and festivals are struggling. There’s less print media dedicated to music, and the important online music coverage is often niche and always changing. Streaming is growing, but not everyone is streaming yet — and the business model is far from perfect. All that to say, there’s a lot that I think will have to sort itself out in the next few years. In the meantime, I think it’s going to be a bit of a Wild West situation, with a few brave/lucky/shrewd folks winning big.



TI // What makes you feel optimistic about the music industry?


I love how accessible it is for people to make music now. For professional artists and for hobbyists it’s easier than ever to access good equipment and good sounds. I think it’s good for a society when more people can have fun with music and express themselves. And I’m optimistic because good people will always put good things into the world, no matter what the climate is in the industry.


TI //  What projects are you excited about working on?


More Hip-Hop Evolution and lots of new music.


TI Sidenote: That question would have been an easy one for Shad to really promote what he’s doing, but in ultra-humble, super nice guy Shad behaviour he chose to answer it with 9 words. To be honest, having known him for years now, that is probably what I should have expected.


So, I’ll take this opportunity to say how great Hip-Hop Evolution is. If you haven’t seen it, you’ve got to watch it…and it’s on Netflix (except in Canada ironically). The Hip-Hop Evolution site has some pretty cool bonus features too, so check it out here…no release date for series 2, but keep an eye out for it.




Grandmaster Flash giving Shad a turntable lesson in Hip Hop Evolution season 1

Also, I know Shad has been busy in the studio, so we’re excited to hear the new stuff soon. In the meantime, here’s a little Shad throwback.