On the surface, the decision to anoint rapper Shadrach Kabango as the new host of CBC’s Q might seem like an odd one. Shad, as he’s known, has zero journalistic experience, nor does he have any training in radio broadcasting. What he does have is deep roots in Canada’s arts and culture scene, having won a 2011 Juno award (he beat out some dude named Drake) and made the Polaris Music Prize shortlist three times. Despite his successes, the Canadian-raised Kenyan has managed to remain humble (for now, at least), and in that way and many others, he’s the antithesis of his disgraced predecessor, Jian Ghomeshi. Ahead of his debut on April 20, we caught up with Shad to talk about his new job, the art of the interview and why pretzels suck.
Congrats on your new gig. You’re going to keep putting out albums, right?
That’s the plan, but there’s nothing coming up in the near future. I’m always scribbling stuff here and there. I call it climbing that hill, and I haven’t started climbing that hill yet.
It’s like that ’80s song.
It’s not running up that hill for me. It’s more a slow walk up the hill.
I have to ask the obligatory baggage question, because there’s a lot of it surrounding the show. How much did that figure into your deliberation process about whether or not you’d take the job?
That didn’t exactly factor in for me, and maybe it should have. Everyone has asked it. And I guess it’s made me think, “Should I have thought about that?” But it didn’t really factor in. I did a week on the show and really enjoyed it, and I pretty much came away from that week thinking that if they were interested in having me, I couldn’t turn it down.