New York, NY (Top40 Charts)
Toronto MC Shad - who doubles as host of Netflix's Emmy and Peabody award-winning show Hip-Hop Evolution - has released the music video for "Sniper," the latest visual installment from his Polaris Prize music finalist album A Short Story About A War.
"Sniper" is a testament to Shad's intense attention to concept - the video is a neo-noir surrealist look into power structures, as a "sniper" preys from a safe distance.
As Shad explains it: "As Shad explains it: "The sniper character is a metaphor for anyone who enjoys a higher position in our competitive society. 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. Also, the same way that a sniper participates in violence from a safe distance, likewise the more privileged in our society can be removed from the harm that we cause-- economically, environmentally, and relationally--through our spending, investing, our spiritual relationship to land and place, and who we choose to include and exclude.
I decided to start this album with The Sniper's song for many reasons but mainly because this is the character that I relate to the most. 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 Asan resonated with these themes and I'm grateful he chose to give these songs a complex visual narrative that focuses on the soul of the album: The spiritual struggle for peace."
Filmmaker Asan Aslam continues: "Ultimately, this film turns the pure notion of success into what it actually is: success is conflicted. We cannot live with or without it. The only way to handle it is to have perspective."
Shad was also just interviewed for an NBC news segment on rap's changing relationship with Donald Trump. Watch here: https://www.nbcnews.com/now/video/trump-s-rocky-relationship-with-rap-72066117776
A true hip-hop saga with its own rich mythology, A Short Story About A War takes place in a dystopian desert world entirely of Shad's own creation. A cast of warring factions clash in this politically-charged, post-apocalyptic allegory: Snipers, Revolutionaries, Stone Throwers, and The Fool. Through his exploration of this society, Shad sheds light on the major issues that face our own: economic inequality, the environment, dirty politics, and above all the spiritual struggle for peace within each of us.
Critics praised the project: Noisey deemed the album "the challenging record we deserve", while Rolling Stone described it as "ambitious...a concept piece about the ways in which humanity tears itself apart." Exclaim! and Voir gave the album 4 stars.
Shad has released 4 widely celebrated albums, along with hosting CBC's internationally syndicated 'q' arts and culture radio program for a year, and Netflix's Hip-Hop Evolution.
Watch the Season 3 trailer here: https://www.netflix.com/title/80141782?trackId=14277282
With A Short Story About A War's Polaris Prize nomination, Shad becomes the first artist to make the short list four times since the award's inception. The new nomination follows Flying Colours (2014), TSOL(2010) and The Old Prince
(2008). This recognition comes only two months after Shad was crowned "Rap Artist of the Year" by the Independent Music
Awards in Toronto.