British Columbia

Friends and collaborators 'Spring Up' on Shad's new EP

As a rapper known for his words, Shad has been fairly quiet for the past three years. But the hip hop artist released Spring Up, a new EP, last month and he's expected to drop a full length album this fall.

Shad kicks off CBC's Musical Nooners — a seven week long free outdoor summer concert series

Hip hop artist Shad began rapping at the age of 14. (CBC)

As a rapper known for his words, Vancouver rapper Shad has been fairly quiet for the past three years. But the hip hop artist released a new EP, Spring Up, last month and is expected to drop a full length album this fall. He sat down with The Early Edition's guest host, Stephen Quinn.

Q: This is the first music you've released since your 2010 Polaris-nominated record TSOL. Was [that nomination] on your mind at all when you put this together?

A: It wasn't actually! It just carried momentum from a full length [album] I worked on with Scratch Bastid. We were still in a creative mode, ended up banging out three songs in a session, and we tried to piece together a few more for another little project. It was just good timing, good creative energy, and we just tried to do something fun with it.

Q: It's fun — but there's a social message as well, and there's some pretty serious stuff in the new EP.

A: [The social message] is always there. But we have some fun with it. The last song Peace is definitely down tempo, definitely moody, but we try to keep everything on an optimistic train. The beats are pretty classic — old school hip hop, very easy to listen to.

Q: DJ Jazzy Jeff has a hand in this as well. Tell us about that.

A: I had a video called "The Old Prince Still Lives At Home" which parodied The Fresh Prince of Belair intro and he saw that and was really into it and we built a bit of a relationship. And then through DJ-ing, Jeff has a relationship with Scratch Bastid — they're really similar DJs and personalities so they're friends and then we ended up triangulating as well.

Q: It seems like you and DJ Jazzy Jeff are a natural collaboration.

A: For sure. He's made a lot of music that's influenced me. He's one of those guys that continues in that vein in a way that is still fresh, even thought it's classic old school style. He makes it come alive.

Q: Tell me about your solo work versus working with someone like Scratch Bastid — a true collaboration.

A: My solo work — even though I'm still collaborating with a lot of people, I always have veto, I come with the song ideas and for better or for worse, I am always driving the direction creatively. Whereas working with Paul [aka Scratch Bastid] on this, both of us are bringing ideas to the table. Certain things are in my court, certain things are in his court, and no one has veto, so to me it's collaborative in that sense.

CBC's Musical Nooners run every weekday from July 5 to Aug. 23 from 12 p.m. to 1 p.m. at 700 Hamilton St. in Vancouver.