KING SHAD (SHADDIE SWAG)
King Shad (Shaddie Swag) is a rapper on a mission from God. When he was a kid, he never dreamed of becoming a Jay-Z or a Kanye West. No, the man known as the Hardest Rapper in Buffalo, NY says football was his passion. “Football was it,” he recalls. “My mom worked at Georgia Tech. I got to walk on that [famous football] field and I wanted to do that.”
However, King Shad says "I hurt my ankle somewhere I shouldn’t have been and that changed my whole life. I didn’t let the cast stay on long enough then my grandmother died and I went back home to Buffalo.” King Shad meet Neal Mack one night through family and friends and ending rapping or free styling in his truck. Then from there birth the group spiritual warfare. A Christian rap group that went hard for God. David "Willz" Williams, a third member who would come on later and a really good add on if he says so himself!
Pretty soon, King Shad would just walk into a lounge and start battling hood rappers with his off-the-cuff poetry. “I don’t like writing lyrics,” he admits. “But, I love to just flow with whatever is going on around me. So, everything they say I’m flipping back to them. I was at them with God.”
It was really a skills game for Swag. Then, something happened in 2004. “I was rapping when this guy came up to me with a pound of weed and said, `I don’t even want to do weed anymore based on what ya’ll rapping.’ I said to myself, `This thing is real.’ I was in church all of my life but in church and saved are two different things. When I first started doing it, I didn’t see it as a ministry. I was just rapping about God.”
Once King Shad began to see his free styling as a ministry, a lot of things changed. “There are certain people I don’t even chill with now,” he declares. “Just last night they had a Halloween party and said, `Let’s go to Orphus [a Buffalo nightclub]’ and I was like, `Nah.’ Me going there to chill? Someone is gonna look over and say what is he doing at this club? So you gotta change those things and say no. You gotta change your mindset.
If I know my addiction is weed or women, why am I gonna be around women and weed every day? You can change your mind but you also gotta change your surroundings.”
Since then, Shad has made mix tapes and tracks that confront life head-on with every day issues that he says most Holy Hip-Hoppers don’t address. “Lil Wayne and Gucci Mane are all up in the church because that’s what the kids listen to. None of the Christian rappers are saying anything that’s relevant to them. If I’ve got to be their security guard to Heaven, I will be.”
One way Shad reaches youth is by reformatting familiar beats by the likes of Lil Wayne, Usher, or Chris Brown. “By the time I get done with them they don’t even know where the songs came from,” he laughs. “But there’s enough there where they
think they’ve heard this somewhere before because I ain't rapping on no worldly track when I know I got little kids listening. The anointing of God is on it. Somebody could’ve used the same pattern but every beat I use, God gave me an antidote.”
The “Fancy” collaboration by Drake, T.I. & Swizz Beats subtly inspired Swag’s ode to the perfect female, “Proverbs 31 Woman.” Swag recalls people coming up to him now and saying, “I can’t even listen to T.I.’s version anymore because I’m listening to this version God gave Shaddie Swag.” One of Swag’s most requested songs is called “Eternity” and he performed it at 30 weddings last year. “That song is about being equally yoked with a woman,” he confesses. “We don’t have no songs in the body of Christ that if I’m courting a woman that I can play. When I’m chillin’ with my lady, I don’t want to put on no R. Kelly because that’s going to take us in another direction.”
This mission inspired the release of "No Cross, No Crown" (2008),"The Antidote" (2012), and God's Pulse, My Heartbeat" (2013). These albums created a fan base of 1,000's of people who would have otherwise never included Christian music as an everyday part of their listening experience.
At a performance for the Salvation Army in early 2015 King Shad was inspired to recreate his entire sound. "The joy of the audience changed my entire view of how I created music. They may be experiencing a difficult time in their lives, but they still managed to have joy. I felt like my only option was to be brave enough to step outside myself and give them excellence with my music."
Since then King Shad has begun to work with a new management team, play writers , and producers. "I want fearless people to be apart of my next project. This level of artistry requires people who are just as passionate about going to dangerous neighborhood for street ministry, as they are about their paycheck. These are faith driven people, that's why the sound has changed. We took chances, we used different types of music. I feel like this is my first LP."
To experience King Shad's music and samples from the new untitled projectvisit (King Shad shaddie swag on YouTube, rashad kingshad Howard on Facebook. Shaddie swag on twitter. Music is also available for download at iTunes and Amazon.
"I get excited about worshipping God. My music is giving people the chance to share in my love for worship".
Rashad is also on the praise n worship teamand teaches the youth dance for David dancers and ressurrection at True Bethel Baptist church in Buffalo, NY under the leadership of Bishop Darius Pridgen.