Shad - hip hop artist highlight

"Too often, hip hop still lacks deep vision and analysis. It's morally underdeveloped and spiritually immature." - Cornel West

Most people would be surprised to know how much I enjoy hip hop. At least, my guess is most would be surprised. I really love hip hop, but I am incredibly picky as to what hip hop I will endure.

Dr. West's thoughts above get to the heart of my picky-ness as it relates to the hip hop I enjoy. There are a few criteria an artist has to meet for me to enjoy them.

  1. Is it well-written? I care too much about the beauty and art of written and spoken word to waste time with "artists" who pay no mind or effort to the craft.
  2. Is it thoughtful? I am no longer (and never was) interested in how much more sex, money, or arrogance you have than me. But if you are writing for a purpose outside and beyond yourself, I am all ears.
  3. Is it redemptive or impactful? Tricia Rose said, "Hip hop has become a primary means by which we talk about race in the United States." I not only agree but would say that, as any artistic expression, hip hop has the capacity to be dramatically redemptive and impacting in endless issues.

One artist in the last few years has surfaced for me as one fulfills all of these criteria as well as many others. Shad is out of Canada and still has a swagger you do not expect from mounty country. He is uber-creative, thoughtful, and well-thought. It is evident in his work. Get all three albums and thank me later.


Why You'll Never Know Who You Are

"These are not easy questions. Who am I? Why am I here? They're not easy questions because the human being isn't wired to function as an individual. We're wired tribally. We are wired to act as part of a group." - Stephen Pressfield [The War of Art]

"What we don't know is how to be alone. We don't know how to be free individuals."

So the question becomes: To what tribe will I connect?

2 opposing tribes are of The Artist and The Fundamentalist

"[The Artist] believes in progress and evolution. His faith is that humankind is advancing."

"[The Fundamentalist] cannot find his way into the future, so he retreats to the past."

"The difference is that while the one looks forward, hoping to create a better world, the other looks backward, seeking to return to a purer world from which he and all have fallen."

In 2010, which tribe do you wish to attribute your identity to?