By Brian Harris
One of the more tossed around terms in today’s vernacular is the word “hustle”. It’s used to describe just how hard a person is working to make his or her own mark in the world. For Ontario-born and raised rapper Shah, his attitude about life and the accomplishments that he’s achieved in his young life can be described with the single word “hustle”.
Growing up in the rough-and-tumble Parkdale neighborhood of Toronto, where the dueling social problems of drugs and poverty had a death grip on the area, Shah had to fight off the temptations that the streets offer the youth and fight them off he did, earning a B.A in commerce from the University of Toronto. One of the many things that help him along the way was his love for hip-hop.
After earning his bachelors’ and working on Wall Street, which the MC referred to as being “mundane”, Shah applied to numerous medical and law schools across the Canada and the U.S, and was accepted into many of them, including Rutgers-Newark School of Law. Shah settled on getting his doctorate at the University of Toronto and headed down to New Orleans to work as an assistant for the Saints’ team doctor.
For most people, getting their doctorate would be fulfilling enough but for Shah, but he felt that the life of a practicing physician would be enough for someone who likes to get the most of life, saying that “safety is some thing that repels me.”
“There’s not many professions where you get to wile the fuck out and have a good time,” Shah said, adding that “music is a way to do that.”
With that mindset firmly in grasp, Shah decided to pursue is dream of being a rapper, while working as a doctor, which he calls “a much better side hustle than most rappers have.” In November of last year, Shah released his debut EP, titled “Today”, on DayOne Records. The entire five-song EP is a first glance in to the person Shah is and what drives him so much but the MC feels that the track called “Live On More” tells the story of Shah the best.
“There’s tracks that are more autobiographical like “My Way” but this song (Live One More) is basically my life in three minutes,” Shah said.
When asked about what drives him to achieve such lofty goals like being bother a doctor as well as a rapper, Shah says that it stems from a realization that “I’ll never be fulfilled so I came to grips with that.”
“It’s just sort of who I am. My drive is something internal, its embedded. I’ll always be trying to achieve greater successes,” Shah said.
With the release of “Today” as well as the upcoming full-length titled “Day of Shah”, Shah is ready to get his message of socially conscious but catchy music out to the masses.
“This is the beginning. We’re (Shah and his team at DayOne) trying to attract the people who set trends, the go-getters.”
It’s through reaching these people first that Shah wants to achieve his ultimate goal, which is to “Make music that is digestible to the masses and will still have my message (of social change) in it.”
“I expect to make a change in the psyches in the people who listen to pop music and pop-rap music to make change,” Shah said, adding that “I think that my lasting impact will be that shah made that shit (helping others) cool.”