Shadrach “Shad” Kabango, 32, is the new host of Q, the cultishly popular CBC Radio show left host-less after Jian Ghomeshi was fired last October. The Kenya-born, London, Ont.-raised hip-hop artist takes over the role on April 20. Not sure who he is? Learn more about the award-winning rapper below.
He’s a winner. The rapper financed his debut album, When This Is Over (2005), with money he won in a contest sponsored by the Kitchener, Ont., radio station, 91.5 The Beat. He’s subsequently released three other albums. His most recent is Flying Colours (2013), which earned him his third nomination for the Polaris Music Prize shortlist.
He’s kind of a renaissance man. Shad can talk about music with his future guests—that’s a given. But he’s also got an insider’s take on the worlds of finance and culture, too. He graduated from Wilfrid Laurier with a degree in business and holds a master’s degree in liberal studies from Simon Fraser University.
He’s got one over on Drake. He’s been called Canada’s second-best rapper, but that’s not technically true. Back in 2011, he beat Drake at his own game, taking home a Juno for Rap Recording of the Year for his 2010 recording TSOL. It’s quite a victory given the fact that the rapper has little to no big-industry buzz behind him and is signed to indie Mississauga label, Black Box Recordings.
He’s collaborated with Lights—twice. Weird coincidence: Ghomeshi is her former manager. Their first collaboration, “Everybody Breaks a Glass” was in 2011; their second, “Remember to Remember,” debuted in 2013. The twosome make unexpectedly harmonious partners.
He gets the U.S./Canada culture divide. In a 2011 interview with RapReviews.com, Shad broke down the difference between American and Canadian culture pretty succinctly, and he did it using two beloved teen series, Degrassi and Saved by the Bell. Said Shad: “Oh, every kid in Canada has a Degrassi education. It’s mandatory. It’s such a funny show. I remember watching it when I was a kid side by side with Saved by the Bell, and Saved by the Bell was just so happy and Degrassi just kept it so real. The actors weren’t even attractive. All the plotlines were about things like abortion and suicide. We all got a Degrassi education.”
Listen to “He Say She Say,” from Flying Colours, below: