Last year we caught up with Shadrach Kabango—better known as Shad—to talk about his ambitious LP A Short Story About a War, the solemn follow-up to his 2016 soft rock debut under the moniker Your Boy Tony Braxton. The Kenyan-born and Canadian-bred rapper built an entire world to illustrate his ideas of a violent war being fought among revolutionaries and the establishment—a task made unfortunately easier when you consider the parallels between Shad’s fictional world and the realities of the twenty-first century.
With the record celebrating its one year anniversary just over a month ago, the rapper is sharing a video for its beat-heavy opening track, “Sniper,” setting up Shad’s vision of a universe where sharp-shooters are at the top of a class hierarchy. “The sniper character is a metaphor for anyone who enjoys a higher position in our competitive society,” Shad explains. “Higher education, higher status, higher income. Not necessarily the super successful, but folks who enjoy relative safety and advantage in our often war-like economic and social system.
“This is the character that I relate to the most,” he admits. “He represents the default logic of our society: That you have to rise above others and keep your true self hidden in order to be safe. This is a message that gets especially internalized by boys. So the metaphor also describes something sad and dangerous to me about masculinity. I was glad that [director Asan Aslam] resonated with these themes, and I’m grateful he chose to give [this song] a complex visual narrative that focuses on the soul of the album: the spiritual struggle for peace.”
A Short Story About War is out now via Secret City. You can order it here.