Columbus Makes Art Presents Hip-Hop Artist Shad, Dropping Bars and Building Community
The second-annual Columbus Women & Girls’ Fest on August 3, 2019 celebrates women and girls of the Mount Vernon neighborhood and beyond with women and girl-identified leaders in arts, entrepreneurship, education and activities for the whole family, geared toward wellness and empowerment. The Fest features national act Syleena Johnson, as well as local performers such as Shad Jones. We caught up with Shad to learn more about her hip-hop artistry.
Dr. E.: Are you a native of Columbus?
Shad: Yes. I was born and raised here. My mother is from the Dominican Republic. Shout out to my fellow Afro-Latinos!
Dr. E.: How long have you been rapping?
Shad: I’ve been rapping for about 13 years, since I was 19 on and off. I’ve also been writing and creating poetry since I was eight, which influenced me to start rapping.
Dr. E.: How would you describe your style?
Shad: People have stated I remind them of Lady of Rage, Queen Latifah and MC Lyte. All are legends in hip-hop and were part of my favorite era of hip-hop as well. I would describe my style as storytelling mixed with witty bars and wordplay.
Dr. E.: Who are your inspirations?
Shad: I’m inspired by stories of the underdogs, people like Maya Angelou, Les Brown, Oprah, Queen Latifah, KRS-1, Guru, etc. They remind me to keep working towards my goals and to be vulnerable.
Dr. E.: As a woman in the male-dominated world of rap and hip-hop, what are some things that you do to empower yourself and other women artists?
Shad: I support other musicians in the hip-hop community and beyond instead of seeing them as competition. The music I create comes from the heart and my main goal is to make a difference through the songs I share. I created a cypher series that highlights lyrical virtuosity, wit and wordplay of rappers and emcees.
With the help of Ninevibes (videographer) and Rachel Rene of Columbus Unite (producer of Beats) the House of Bars cypher series was created. The first cypher was scheduled for a March 2019 release and it was also Women’s History Month. We decided to have an all-women cypher as the first one in the series. There will be more cyphers planned in the future. The current one is available on YouTube.
Dr. E.: What’s on your playlist?
Shad: I use Spotify and I’m over 1,000 songs my playlist. I would say in recent rotation right now are Nipsey Hussle, Mistar Anderson, TrigNO, Sade, Kashis Keyz, Ebri Yahloe. I like a mix of local and mainstream artists with substance.
Dr. E.: What can we expect from you in the near future?
Shad: My EP “Sandals & Socks” drops the end of July. Check my website shadjones.com.
Dr. E.: What’s the best thing about the Columbus art scene right now?
Shad: It’s becoming more inclusive of all types of creatives. There is space for independent artists to thrive and grow with the support of fellow artists.
Shad Jones will perform as part of the second-annual Columbus Women & Girls’ Fest on Saturday, Aug. 3 at the MPACC Box Park, 925 Mt. Vernon, 11 a.m. – 7:30 p.m. More information is available by calling (216) 236-3621.
Columbus Makes Art Presents is a bi-weekly column brought to you by the Greater Columbus Arts Council – supporting art and advancing culture in Columbus. The column is a project of the Art Makes Columbus campaign, telling the inspiring stories of the people and organizations who create Columbus art and sharing information about exhibitions, performances, concerts and more at ColumbusMakesArt.com. Each column will be written by a different local arts organization to give you an insiders look at how #artmakescbus.