Kardinal Offishall

Born:     May 11, 1976
Place of Birth:      Flemingdon Park, Ontario, Canada
Zodiac Sign:  Taurus

Career

Jason D. Harrow (born May 11, 1976), better known by his stage name Kardinal Offishall /kɑːrdɪˈnæl oʊfɪˈʃæl/, is a Canadian rapper, record producer, DJ and record executive. Often credited as Canada's "hip hop ambassador", he is regarded as one of the country's best hip hop producers, and is best known for his distinctive reggae and dancehall-influenced style of hip hop.

A native of Toronto, Offishall began his career in the city's mid-1990s underground hip hop scene, as a member of The Circle. He released several independent 12" singles, a debut album (Eye & I), and an EP (Husslin'), before signing with major label MCA Records in 2000. The following year, Offishall released his second album, Quest for Fire: Firestarter, Vol. 1, spawning the Billboard hit "BaKardi Slang", which popularized Toronto's nickname "T-dot", and the minor hit "Ol' Time Killin'"; both singles became his signature songs. After failing to release the Firestarter Vol. 2 album in 2003, on MCA, and later Geffen Records (which absorbed MCA).Offishall briefly returned to the underground scene, releasing several more independent 12" singles.

In 2005, Offishall's third album, Fire and Glory, was released in Canada. That year, he collaborated with R&B singer Akon for the first time, starting a musical partnership that lasted until 2010. In 2007, he signed with Akon's Kon Live Distribution label, through Geffen, and released his fourth album, Not 4 Sale, the following year. The first single, "Dangerous", became a top five hit on the Billboard Hot 100, and was certified triple platinum in Canada. Offishall released two gold-certified singles, "Numba 1 (Tide Is High)" and "Body Bounce", before leaving Kon Live in late 2010. Since then, his latest singles have been released on his independent label Black Stone Colleagues Inc. In 2012, Offishall released Allow Me to Re-Introduce Myself, a collaborative mixtape with producer Nottz.

 

In 2013, Offishall became the Creative Executive Director of Universal Music Canada's A&R team.

Personal Life and Family

Harrow was born in Scarborough, Ontario, in Toronto's east end, and raised by Jamaican immigrant parents. From the ages of 2 to 13, he lived in the city's Flemingdon Park neighbourhood. He moved back to Scarborough for two years, before finally settling in Oakwood–Vaughan, in the city's west end. While in high school, he would throw parties at the Alexandra Park Community Centre. He also is a former York University student but did not complete his degree.

He started rapping at the age of eight and was winning competitions by the time he was 12. At aged 14, he performed live and on stage for the first time, with Nelson Mandela in attendance during Mandela's first visit to Toronto following his release from prison earlier that year (1990). He graduated in West Hill Collegiate Institute. By 1993, he decided to change his alias "KoolAid", and went by the moniker "Kardinal Offishall" after being inspired by the great 17th century French politician Cardinal Richelieu.

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