Karim M. Shabazz is a native of Sparks, Nevada. He graduated from Sparks High School in June, 1998. He earned a Presidential Scholarship to attend Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia to study trombone performance. While at Morehouse College he studied under the second trombonist in the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, and took third place in the National Black Collegiate Concerto Competition in 1999.
Despite displaying some musical aptitude, Karim switched majors from Trombone Performance to Political Science in 2000, and transferred from Morehouse College to Howard University in Washington, D. C. He graduated from Howard University with the Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science in 2002. After graduation, he went to Law School briefly before enlisting in the United States Navy. He received his Commission as an Ensign in the Navy on July 15, 2005, and served on active duty until January 31, 2016. Lieutenant Commander Karim Shabazz (LCDR) has continued his service in the United States Naval Reserve.
LCDR Shabazz joined the Reno Wind Symphony in 2016, nearly 18 years after he first left Nevada for college, and 17 years since he last played the trombone.