Thursday, February 26, 2009

K'naan will expand your horizons

Over the past few years I have continuously sung the praises of Somali rapper (by way of Toronto) K'naan. His first album, The Dusty Foot Philosopher, is one of the most powerful albums I have heard in the past ten years among my favorite hip hop albums ever. Combining hip hop beats on top of African rhythms and Eminem-like flow, it sounds fresh enough, until you hear the lyrics which bring the reality of the African experience to our shores. On that album he disses gansta rap and reminds us he comes from the most dangerous city on earth, but positivity and poetry emanate from the poverty, pain and terror of his childhood.

His newest album Troubadour came out on Tuesday. I am not yet ready to review it (I don't believe in immediate reviews). From first listen, I am not grabbed by it like his first. But, that was expected. I was not grabbed by Pearl Jam's second album because I had heard nothing like their first (however, I still love album #2). A mind can only be completely blown once by an artist. Plus, I learned on his first album that multiple listens are needed to begin to appreciate it's complexity (the mark of greatness).

Luckily for him (and us), he has a major record label which is putting plenty of promotion behind this uber-talented young man. His first single Bang, Bang is the single of the week on iTunes (download it) and NPR is offering a review/ profile of the album where you can download Somalia (his single about the plight of Somali pirates) and listen to 2 other songs. 

Some reviewers and critics consider him a cross between Jay Z and Tracy Chapman or Feli Kuti x Eminem x Bob Marley x Mos Def. You decide.

Here is a mini review (you can hear 3 songs).

1 comment:

Jason Evans said...

I think his story is more interesting than his music.