Monday, October 12, 2009


Truth time. I didn't get to catch K'Naan's set on Friday, still on a plane to Austin. But I've heard from reliable, upright citizens that it was siiiick. So he's going up anyway; please excuse my second-hand enthusiasm.

A Somali-Canadian hip hop artist who's name means "traveller" in his native language, Keinan Abde Warsame lived through the Somali Civil War as a child. Coming over with his family to eventually settle in Toronto, Canada, his past is the inspiration for much of his American and African politically conscious lyrics. The featured track off his latest album, "Troubador," features him rapping in both Somali and English with Mos Def and Chali 2Na chiming in.

Sidenote: Mos Def's cover of Radiohead's "All I Need" on Saturday was one for the ages.

He calls to mind Bob Marley and has similar loops to Eminem, but he's eight miles away from Slim Shady. K'Naan's craft is "urgent music with a message" calling for an end to the bloodshed in his homeland.

K'Naan // America

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