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Shad gets it 

Juno winning hip-hop prince plays The Paragon this Saturday


Ever since Canadian rapper Shad released his 2010 album TSOL to the hip-hop masses, the London, Ontario-raised musician has seen a growing interest in his career from some of the unlikeliest places. Namely, Salt Lake City.

"The show had a lot more sketchy characters than you would think," says Shad of performing in front of some fallen Mormon youth. "We were on super-late, for one thing, and it was a Wednesday, so I wasn't expecting that. Then a fight broke out. It's not what I expected." He laughs.

But his recent rise in popularity is far from the unexpected. Gaining attention in 2007 with the viral music video "The Old Prince Still Lives at Home," which had Shad miming the opening credits of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, he went on to release his third album, TSOL, to a wider audience outside of the underground hip-hop sphere.

With his win for Rap Recording of the Year at this year's Junos, Shad beat out the likes of hip-hop heavyweights Drake and Halifax's Ghettosocks to position himself as one of Canada's pre-eminent rappers, with a flow that rivals mainstream acts like Jay-Z and Tyler, The Creator.

"It's great to celebrate with all the people I've been working with for a long time," says Shad of winning the Juno. "I definitely didn't expect the award, so it created one of those situations where I could look back at the work I've done."

As Shad reflects on his hip-hop career and his recent successes, he continues to draw inspiration from his fans that have been with him from the beginning.

"At shows, people just seem a little bit more enthusiastic recently. You know how it is when there is a band you're into and then they kind of reach a higher level in terms of profile. It makes you that much more excited. Most of my fans seem to think it's cool that more people are getting into it," he says. "Especially nowadays when there are so many people making music. For someone even to bother listening to you, it feels great."

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