There’s been a slow and steady shift in Canada for a while now. Hip hop has never received an open welcome in the mainstream music industry here. It’s had to forge its own path and cultivate an audience on the outskirts of the status quo. But it thrived and flourished on its own terms and pace.
Amidst that growth was the rapper Shad, a Kenyan-born young man with Rwandan parents who grew up in London, ON. Shad has relentlessly created music drenched in stories and as a child of African immigrant parents I identified with his stories. So I was quite happy to hear that he has been chosen to be the new host on CBC’s show Q. What a great outlet for a storyteller such as Shad and a treat for audiences.
The Canadian version of the Grammys, the Junos, are this weekend. I remember in 1998 when the Vancouver based rap group the Rascalz won for Best Rap Recording, but declined the award citing an intentional neglect and dismissal of hip hop in mainstream Canadian music. And here we are now, a rapper has taken a coveted seat on the nation’s leading radio station.
An article that moved me was written by CBC host Nana aba Duncan, Shad’s New Job At Q A Victory For All Of Us, highlighting how proud she was hearing the news.
One of my favourite parts…
So let the kids who love hip hop know about this. Let them be aware that you can have so many sides to you and be proud of each. Most of all, let Canada see that a rapper who wears hoodies can have a serious, intelligent conversation with anyone.