A friend of mine introduced me to Shad a few years ago, and I’ve been hooked ever since. The Canadian rap sensation (haha, just kidding Shad), and London, Ontario native is probably one of the hardest MCs to catch in concert. But finally, the opportunity presented itself this month and I knew I couldn’t miss this performance! The University of Toronto (boo!) holds an annual winter welcome back week for its students and this year it featured a performance by Shad. Did I mention this event was only for UofT students? As a York University student, I knew this wouldn’t stop me from seeing Shad so I borrowed a friend’s student card, and snuck my way into the event.
So there I was, a 5th year York University undergrad student at the Hart House, squished amongst freshman students, all to see Shad. Definitely had my screw face on that evening. The night began with garbage top-40 music, annoying hosts and a decent opening act.
Shad finally got on stage 10:08pm and opened up with “A Milli Vanili” followed by a typical, brainy-shad freestyle. That track can be found on his free ep Melancholy and the Infinite Shadness. The jeans, t-shirt, and fitted MC transitioned into his next track “It Aint Over”, which he recently dropped a video for. I looked around to see if anyone was loving their life as much as I was, only to see blank faces. Apparently the other side of the room had fans that knew lyrics Shad couldn’t remember, but none of that was happening on my end. Freshman heads and hands were blocking my view of the stage, but still I conquered.
Hands from the crowd grabbed onto Shad’s necklace with a bullet pendant. He explained that it was a gift and that they couldn’t have it… greedy motherf**kers. Shad joked about the bullet necklace getting him in trouble at the airport.
The beat of “Rose Garden” (which Tanya Morgan jumped on for a remix) blasted through the speakers, and finally the crowd woke-up and knew a word, or two, or three…to his most popular hit. I was especially excited to hear this track live because it was the first Shad song I ever heard. I was also happy to hear Shad perform the added verse on “Rose Garden”, found on the 26-minuet blend “Besides.”
“This is a Hip-Hop show right?” Shad gets into the crowd and performs “Now a Daze” over Souls of Mischiefs “93 Till Infinity”.
The London MC took it back to his early album The Old Prince, and did tracks like “Compromise”, “I Don’t Like To”, and “The Old Prince Still Lives at Home”, most of which the crowd didn’t know. During “The Old Prince Still Lives at Home”, Shad tried to engage with the crowd, getting them clap along with him. Now accompanying the MC on stage was an obnoxious and bothersome audience member, clapping over the beat while Shad raps. The night came to an end with one of my favourite tracks “Keep Shining”.
Shad has immaculate stage presence, cerebral lyrics, and incredible delivery. There is a lot of favorites of mine that he didn’t perform, but I do get this was a FREE, university event. I just wish there were more Shad fans in the building. Overall a great evening, can’t wait to hear new music from the Old Prince.
Review by: Amanda Girgis