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The Peabody and International Emmy Award-winning host of Hip-Hop Evolution, Canadian rapper Shad is something of a hip-hop polymath. Born in Kenya to Rwandan parents and raised in London, Ontario, he holds a master’s degree in liberal studies from Simon Fraser University, is the former host of CBC Radio’s Q, and once beat Drake for Rap Recording of the Year at the Juno Awards.
Never one to shy from writing with a message at the core of his music, Shad’s seventh studio album, TAO, weaves from surveillance capitalism and the works of Shoshana Zuboff to social media addiction, job precarity, and the increasing social divide. It’s about “deep connection, wholeness, and the various threats to it.” On TAO, Shad asks the question: what happens when we’re broken apart? And is the answer to return things to the way they were, or allow them to make space for something new?