Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Canadian Rapper Shad to Replace Jian Ghomeshi as Host of CBC's 'Q'

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Canadian Rapper Shad to Replace Jian Ghomeshi as Host of CBC's 'Q'

Article excerpt

Rapper Shad to succeed Ghomeshi as 'Q' host

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TORONTO - After contemplating hundreds of potential candidates, the CBC is convinced that new "Q" host Shad can succeed with flying colours.

The 32-year-old rapper will soon take over the popular cultural affairs radio show, which was helmed by Jian Ghomeshi until he was fired last year.

"I'm a little surprised this morning when people have said this is a bold or courageous decision, because I'm just so confident about it," said Cindy Witten, interim executive director of English-language CBC-Radio.

"(Shad) is so extremely bright, a really curious guy, he's clearly passionate about arts and culture in this country," she added.

"He's going to be so charming. I think he's going to really resonate with ... the core 'Q' listener, and I actually think he's going to bring new audiences to 'Q.'"

The announcement followed a cross-country search during which Witten said the CBC assembled a list of nearly 250 possible hosts.

Raised in London, Ont., Shad is a cerebral, dexterous rapper whose four albums have tackled race-based alienation, gender inequality and even the Rwandan genocide (he was born in Kenya to Rwandan parents).

Since issuing his debut record "When The Music's Over" in 2005, he's earned plaudits from Chicago rap titan Kanye West and reeled in three Juno nominations. Notably, Shad upset Toronto's Drake to win the 2011 Juno trophy for rap recording of the year for his ambitious "TSOL," memorably joking in acceptance: "This is like the Emmy going to Theo's friend Cockroach or something."

His most recent record, 2013's "Flying Colours," was his third straight to make the Polaris Music Prize short list.

Shad was among a rotating cast of guest hosts who had been steering the show since Ghomeshi was let go in October.

Those stints wound up being a sort of audition, and Shad impressed.

"He had the instincts to pull out those really special moments (in his interviews)," Witten pointed out.

She suggested that Shad's "Q" -- he takes over April 20 -- will have a more spontaneous, live feeling than before, with even more music.

Given the show's sprawling scope, Shad will need to prepare to discuss almost any issue. …

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