K’naan is about to become a household name. All you need to do is check out Troubadour and you’ll see why. Born in Mogadishu, Somalia (considered the world’s most dangerous city), K’naan grew up in destitution, bloodshed and civil war. In ’91, at the age of 13, he managed to escape with his mother to NYC and eventually settled in Toronto. 10 years later he’s learns English and is making music; he releases The Dusty Foot Philosopher in 2005. Come 2008, he’s in Bob Marley’s house in Kingston with Damian and Mos recording Troubadour.
Dusty is so fresh in a rap genre that has been too stale as of late. He’s returning artistic merit to Hip-Hop with profound lyricism. His songs tell stories, carry messages, and have meaning. He’s poetic.
I saw him Tuesday night at Mod Club in Toronto for his album release concert – the dude starts all his tracks acapella, then gets his live band to kick in. S’no wonder he’s down with Mos and Talib nowadays, both love spittin over live tracks (I wouldn’t be surprised if these guys all team up and throw something together at BAM in nyc, maybe even an album down the road). What’s crazy is that K’naan’s sound is catchy enough to compete with mainstream anthem rap; he’s got at least 5 radio-friendly singles on Troubadour. Could this be the guy who returns legitimacy to mainstream hiphop??
More on the album. “Take a Minute” and “Wavin Flag” are probably my two favorite tracks. “If Rap Gets Jealous” on Troubadour features the Metalica guitarist Hammett, but is definitely suffers from overproduction and a guitar solo that is about 2 minutes too long (K’naan’s original version of his song on his first album is better). There really isn’t a weak song on the album. Damian’s feat. on “I Come Prepared” is tight. Mos comes out okay in “America,” but does a lot more with his name next to the track than his actual performance in it. Listen to Dusty’s words. He was big in his concert on telling people to really listen and identify with his tracks.
Big ups to K’naan – couldn’t think of a better artist who deserves some success.
Murch[audio:K’naan – Soba.mp3]