Archive for the ‘k’naan’ Category

Over a quarter century ago New York gave the world Hip Hop. During that time the music, expression, and beats have evolved impacting and planting lyrical seeds in kids from every nation. Look out, especially to Africa, and you’ll see a hip hop movement fully grown.

K’Naan is one of those artists from the Hip Hop generation. Growing up on the dusty streets of Mogadishu, Somalia, even from an early age he was listening and dropping verses from Nas and Rakim. His is an authentic voice forged by civil war and refugee experiences and strongly influenced by Somali culture and family history.

K’Naan’s music excites me because it offers a different vision beyond himself; it’s socially aware and uniting people under tight beats while raising awareness for those without voices. Very few artists can do this, but K’Naan speaks to me like Jurassic 5, Guru, or even Rage.

He takes Hip Hop and presses the bounds mixing English and Somali; he’s a poet in any language. Catch K’Naan on closing night of the Pan African Festival at the First Ave Main Room.

Monday, August 11
First Avenue Main Room
7 PM (Doors open)
18+ show
$16 advance; $20 at the door
Ticket Info: 612-338-8388 or Ticketmaster

K’Naan – Soobax

K’Naan – Hardcore


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Abdi Nassir recently covered the state of Somali music and its perceived decline in his blog Abdi Nassir Somalia:

“If you explore a little bit about the Somali Music Industry, your eyes might see a man or a woman who calls himself or herself a Hobol (singer) copying the old Somali songs in 1960s and 1970s and making it into an album. This prompts me to think, is Somali Music dying or these s0-called Hobols are polluting the sweetness of the Somali Music with their lack of creativity?

These amateur singers, also known in Somali Language as Wejiyaxun (Bad Faces), are everywhere, especially in Somali wedding ceremonies where they are hired to play. Most of the songs they play are copied from old Somali singers and you rarely see new songs they make, except them pounding their noisy and heavy instruments. I don’t mean to discredit them but copyright infringement is a serious thing.”

It’s difficult to understand the impact war has had, tearing not only families but music groups, like Waaberi, apart and well known musicians, like Hibo Nuura, from their people. With the war and disintegration of Somali society, the music scene is in crisis state. Crisis can sometimes foster moments of great inspiration and creativity, I’m thinking of German literature after World War II. But unlike German literature, which is read around the world, the Somali society is a very close-knit group and it maybe difficult for musicians and authors to gain an audience beyond their native Somali audience. The exception would rappers like K’naan.

As a blog that has covered Somali heavyweights like Maryam Mursal and Hassan Samatar, it’s can be difficult to find information on even these singers in any language other than Somali. If it’s difficult for me to find info and new Somali bands, it won’t be easy for the average world music fan to find anything.

I would be very interested in speaking or corresponding with anyone who might be knowledgeable about Somali music and patient enough to explain it to a very curious newcomer.

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I have covered K’naan, a rapper originally from Somali now residing in Toronto, on numerous occasions. On YouTube, I found a piece with K’naan featuring Mos Def performing My God at B.B. King’s Blues Club in New York City.

For the most latest info on Mos Def definitely check out his MySpace site.

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K’naanI have covered Somali rapper, K’naan, on multiple occasions. The brilliance of his lyrics, his freestyle capability, and his serving as a voice for the voiceless in Somalia, always keep me coming back for more. To find more on K’naan:

• Check out his Myspace site and listen to his freestyle piece with Mos Def or Blues 4 the Horn

• Check out K’naan’s latest video “Kicked and Pushed”
• Read his article “Talking back To The Empire” published in NOW Magazine, a Toronto-based publication
• View other videos on his website
• Listen to an interview with K’naan on CBC Radio

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K’naan, the dusty foot philosopher as he’s nicknamed, was originally born in Somalia and fled to North America with family at the age of thirteen. He lived in New York City and now resides in Toronto, and has a great story to tell through his lyrics. I mentioned him earlier in talking about the emergence of hip-hop worldwide, especially in eastern Africa.

“An elegant ambassador of peace, K’naan rhymes against violence because he has never forgotten the good fortune he had to escape death in his home country. From a personal and cultural history rooted in poetry (his grandfather is one of Somalia’s most famous poets), K’naan is widening the global hip-hop perspective.”

Calabash Music talked about K’naan earlier this week and are offering two free tracks from his newest album. Calabash is a unique music site offering free music from international musicians on a weekly basis.

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“Whether you trace it to New York’s South Bronx or the villages of West Africa, hip-hop has become the voice of a generation demanding to be heard,” stated James McBride in an article appearing in this month’s National Geographic called “Hip-Hop Planet.”

The article covers Hip-Hop spreading through out the world, and Calabash Music’s post does a great job of illustrating this point. There are several good clips in the post that are worth a listen.

The perfect example of the global force of hip-hop is K’naan, who originally left Somalia at age 13, moved with family to New York and now lives in Toronto. Listen to his music and learn more about the Dustyfoot Prophet.

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