His style is reminiscent of The Pharcyde, Darius Rucker (yes! the guy from Hootie & the Blowfish) with a bit of Steelo. Shad embodies the sometimes goofy, sometimes gregarious, thinking emcee. His energy is infectious, even through embarrassing mic feedbacks and obvious no-no’s like forgetting your verse. The audience always chuckles appreciatively, forgives and keeps on rocking to the beat. His greatest strength last Saturday at El Mocambo on Spadina was keeping us captive and cheering for him throughout his performance.

His lyrics are catchy, best described as early Fresh Prince with a hint of Common Sense and Arrested Development.

On tracks like “I Get down” he stays true to his credo of “Just having a good time’ and engaging the audience.

“My stuff is very down to earth, very regular guy just trying to be myself,” says Shadrach Kabango known in the Hip Hop scene as Shad K. He may be a relative newcomer to those of us mostly familiar with the Toronto Hip-Hop scene, but he’s been around for a while.

He first appeared on a 2002 demo with his former group “Bread and Water” who had an opening spot with Masta Ace. Shad then went on to take first prize in an unsigned talent competition called “Rhythm of the Future” put on by 91.5 FM "The Beat", a Kitchener/Waterloo station.

. London Emcee Shad K.

Yet, many (myself included) had never heard of the London, Ontario emcee. It may have a little to do with the fact that Shad only became serious about a career in music a few years ago. However with the release of his debut album “When This Is Over” [click here to listen to samples] he assured me that we will get to know him.

Opening for Hip-Hop legend Sadat X would be a daunting experience for any young emcee but Shad K admittedly nervous, carried himself with the composure of a veteran. The evening got off to a slow start due in part to an unfortunate low turnout but the audience was ready for a good time and with Shad’s enthusiasm and improvisation it was an entertaining set. Running on to the stage he first reached for his guitar and not the mic standing right in front of him; the first hint that we were about to witness something different. Shad then proceeded to thump out Hip-Hop beats on the acoustic guitar while free styling (JELLO was one of his subjects). A cover of Common’s “BE” and a rendition of his latest single “Rock to it” with his beat-boxing counter part completed a short but very (and I mean this sincerely) “sweet” set.

In a genre already filled with bling, too many bullets and questionable beefs, just being yourself doesn’t seem like the most natural recourse. But somehow with Shad K., there seems to be no need to question his motives. He’s just being Shad.

His last words to aspiring artists before hitting the stage: “keep doing what you’re doing, you have nothing to lose. Whatever you do is not too big or too small. Just try to engage the people.”

For more on Shad K., check out his website at: www.shadk.com.

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