Shad is defending Something Fierce: Memoirs of a Revolutionary Daughter by Carmen Aguirre.

His name is Shadrach Kabango or simply Shad.

A hiphop luminary with a master's degree in liberal studies, Shad is often pegged as "the thinking man's rapper," thanks to his witty wordplay, thoughtful lyrics and smooth delivery.

These qualities helped him rise to the top ranks of Canada's rap elite in a short period of time. In 2010, the National Post named him No. 1 on its list of the best rappers in Canada.

Shad began his music career by winning a song-writing contest run by a local radio station in Kitchener-Waterloo, Ontario. He used the prize money to finance his well-received debut, When This Is Over, in 2005.

His sophomore release, 2007's The Old Prince, garnered nominations for Canada's two most prestigious music prizes, the Juno Awards and the Polaris Music Prize. His latest record, TSOL, released in 2010, also received a Polaris nomination and was a surprise winner of the 2011 Juno for best rap recording, beating out hip-hop bigwig Drake. It's also the album that took Shad on a world tour, with performances in Canada, the U.S., Europe and Africa.

In the course of his career, Shad has shared the stage with Canadian and American hip-hop greats like k-os, Kardinal Offishall, Maestro Fresh Wes, Lupe Fiasco and rap legend Common (Shad's personal hero). Other collaborations include working with DJ Jazzy Jeff, City and Colour, Broken Social Scene and Hawksley Workman.

Shad was born in Kenya to Rwandan parents. He was raised in London, Ontario, and now calls Vancouver home.

Meet Shad in his Canada Reads video!

Hear about Shad's debate strategy in the Canada Reads podcast.

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